SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts (WGGB) — Not too long ago, Springfield’s Armory Commons was a water fountain, sculpture and plenty of benches, but not many people. The gates were padlocked and the grass growing high. Charlie Youmans, the Springfield Police Department’s Community Advocate says, “We had a lot of problems. People used to walk into the park, use the park. Some homeless, some who would come around and use the park. They would trash the park. Anything from needles to just regular trash, people would be out there on a regular basis.”
Today, Armory Commons is vibrant and active after Carol Costa, President of the Armory Quadrangle Civic Assocation rallied the city and the parks department and the people who live around there to clean it up. Youmans likes what he sees and says, “You know it’s now actually a nice park to go sit in again. You have a lot more residents who want to be a part of that park. They feel like it’s their park. And that’s a good thing.”
Carol says now the people who live in this neighborhood make sure Armory Commons stays clean, “We talk to people and everyone has helped to pitch in, to talk to somebody else and say don’t throw that soda can down on the ground, make sure you put it in the trash can. So little by little it’s just gained tremendous energy.”
And the same people who used the part before, still come here. “We want everyone in the park. We talk to everybody who comes in here. Whether it’s a homeless person, whether it’s a young professional who lives in the neighborhood, it’s everybodys park.”
A park that Carol says, people take pride in. “It’s just good that people are taking back their community. Taking it back and believing in the parks and things.”
Armory Commons will host a neighborhood picnic Saturday, September 15th.