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Come Visit An Area That Has So Much To Offer!

Written by Terrance Davis
    Thursday, 10 October 2013
Come Visit An Area That Has So Much To Offer!

Are you planning a trip to the Washington Park area soon? When you do visit this area, you will experience lots of cool activities, and meet some pretty amazing people. This is a community that has had great influence on who I am today. Having grown up in this area and now working in this community, I have certainly noticed some changes. For instance, the Pick n' Save on 35th & North Ave. used to be Jewel Osco. Some things have left and others have joined the community, but it is still a place I am very much connected to.

My direct connection with the Washington Park area today is at the Urban Ecology Center, since I work here. Just so you know, my opinion is not biased when I say this place is amazing. Even people who do not work here think it's cool. Who wouldn't think an organization whose mission is to get you outside with educational and recreational activities is cool?! You can decide for yourself after you have visited. The Urban Ecology Center in Washington Park is a cool place for people, both from the community and from elsewhere, to come for recreation of all sorts and to learn a thing or two about science and nature. It's a place where children come for field trips, members of the organization can borrow camping, skiing, boating, and fishing equipment, and much more. I know for a fact that it is a second home to many children in the community.

wp photo resized 2I grew up in the area, though as a kid it was just Washington Park to me. It was a place where I would watch NBA hopefuls like Latrell Sprewell and Damon Key compete in dunk contests, three point shoot outs, and full court basketball games. Now that I look back, being up close and personal to this type of action was far better than any seat I have ever had at the Bradley Center. It was better because right after the games you could sit and talk to them and hear their aspirations to one day be in the league. This inspired me and other younger guys to want something more out of life. Now as an adult, I'm proud to have had these experiences.

Today I see children riding their bikes or running to the swimming pool, and I think, "that was me not so long ago." It reminds me that anyone who comes into contact with the land can develop a sentimental value for this place - I sure did. Because this area is a part of my origin, I just had to work at the Washington Park Branch after becoming an employee of the Urban Ecology Center.

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Now, as a staff person, I have a unique perspective of working in this area and continue to see developments, such as other businesses and organizations near and around the Urban Ecology Center, that have also made contributions to the health and wealth of the community. Agencies like the Harley Davidson Motor Company, ACTS Housing, and Our Next Generation are just a couple of local companies that have made contributions towards the positive movement of the community. I can remember my mom going to Finney Library to attend programs that assisted single mothers; this neighborhood library is now the Washington Park Library. The Washington Park Library offers some of these same resources - I guess the fact that the name has changed and it's a block away from where it used to be makes the change stick out in my mind. I can also recall going with my childhood friends to several places in the community for free lunch programs. At these programs, I met even more friends, some of which I am still friends with today. I remember these experiences because the community was there for my family in times of need.

The Washington Park area gives people a chance to connect with each other, as well as a place to connect to. I am proud to have grown up in this community and feel it is a beautiful experience to see the wonderful growth and development of the area. It is even more beautiful to hear about the future plans for the neighborhood. I want to be a part of it all and be able to step back and smile at the finished product. So when you decide to visit the Washington Park area, be sure to stop in at the Urban Ecology Center first. I want to be the first one to greet you to the area with a big friendly hello!

Terrance Davis

Terrance Davis

Terrance Davis is the Visitor Services Assistant at our Washington Park Branch. He takes a special interest in this area because he grew up in the neighborhood on 37th & Lloyd. Terrance's affection for the area is demonstrated each day with his attention to the neighborhood children and families. The work he has done with MPS and Choice schools across the city brings him much pride. With his daughters being his main motivation, Terrance strives to make positive changes in the community.

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