The north side of Jamestown is a little better place to live now that Lillian Dickson Park has been renovated.
It took two years and nearly $75,000 for the park's new handicapped-accessible preschool play area, toddler climbing wall, flywheel spinner, fall zone materials, benches, bike rack, trash cans, perimeter fence and a park sign to become a reality.
Renovating the park, which is located on Falconer Street between Bowen and Sturges streets, was the brainchild of neighborhood parents who found themselves aligned with David Reinhardt, formerly of Chautauqua Striders, and Janet Forbes, project coordinator of the Creating Healthy Places through the Chautauqua County Health Network. Reinhardt and Forbes were partners willing to spend their time and efforts shepherding the project to completion. The project received some early advice from Paula Hofgren, a Jamestown woman who had led a similar effort in Roseland Park and remained involved in the Lillian Dickson Park project to its completion.
Reinhardt and Forbes took the lead in making presentations to city officials, service clubs and businesses. They found the new playground equipment, worked with parents to get crosswalks near the park to make it safer for the children playing in it and raised awareness of crime issues in the area. They also mobilized a hardy group of volunteers who put hundreds of hours of effort into the park to make it what it is today.
Hundreds of people had a hand in Lillian Dickson Park - from city and foundation officials who gave time and money to the project to the neighborhood residents who didn't just sit back and accept a substandard park for their children. As much as anyone, however, it is Reinhardt and Forbes who deserve credit for Lillian Dickson's renewed stature as a gathering place for north side children.