Neighborhood Park Fun Days kicks off at Again Street Park

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department hosted the first Neighborhood Park Fun Days Wednesday night at Again Street Park.

The Neighborhood Park Fun Days began last year as a way for people within neighborhoods to get to know each other.  Mary Dewey, the Recreation Leader with Youth Programs, said the event has grown more this year.

"We're just trying to get the communities together and also have a fun day with the kids," Dewey said.

The event featured music, face painting, a bounce house and a bunch of other activities for kids.  

"Our goal is to have everybody in the community get along with each other, especially in the neighborhoods," Dewey said.

She said the city is focusing on the neighborhoods because they want to make sure the neighborhoods are safe for both children and adult residents.

Members of the Little Sisters of the Pearls and Rubies volunteered at the park, helping kids make crowns.  

"Come get to know your community," Sarah Schrock, one of the volunteers, said. "The fire department was here at one point. There was a park ranger.  It's just like getting to know familiar faces that are going to be around your community."

Molly McMillan, another volunteer, said it is especially important for the college students in Columbia.

"They're playing host to you. Columbia is our city," McMillan said. "They like having us here, so it's good to make sure we are a part of that and not just doing our own thing on campus."

"I think it's definitely important to get involved in the community, even if you are here for a small amount of time because even a small amount of time could make a big difference," Kristin King said about why she came out to volunteer.

Optimist Park, Auburn Hill Park, Indian Hill Park and Albert Oakland Park will each host Neighborhood Park Fun Days. The Columbia parks will take turns hosting the event every other Wednesday through Oct. 26.