On September 21, 2019, hundreds of nearby residents and other community members celebrated the completion of the 2019 Torchbearers’ Park East fitness trail project! Dozens of Torchbearer members volunteered to make this a memorable event for everyone who joined.
Around November of 2018, Torchbearers announced a formal partnership with the Akron Civic Commons project, funded by the Knight Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the GAR Foundation. Sites would be developed along the Ohio & Erie Canal and Towpath trail that would be built in partnership with the communities they serve. In 2019, the Community Impact Committee, led by co-chairs Rachel Logan and Andre Campbell along with Board member Kim Cook, launched the Park East Park project.
This initiative included multiple clean-up events, landscaping, painting a mural and installing six fitness stations along the trail. The Park has transformed to a point of connection for residents, a message proudly displayed on the newly installed mural. Active members of Torchbearers joined together over 2019 to conceptualize the fitness trail, which includes a wide variety of healthy activities, from strength to flexibility and even balance- a great complement to the Park’s rock-climbing wall.
The event itself had a myriad of fun activities for people of all ages. The inflatable obstacle course was a hit with all the children. Face painting was all the rage, as Torchbearers Laura Merklin and Kirsten Delpinal showcased their artistic ability. The attendees demonstrated their own artistic ability by making sand art. Tons of other events, such as a bag toss, Plinko, duck pond, ring toss, cornhole, and even a giant checkers board, allowed attendees to win tickets for fabulous prizes and have tons of fun. Hot dogs, ice cream, and a variety of other free snacks were available to ensure everyone was well fed.
Finally, everyone danced to the tunes of DJ Garrick Black. All of this could not have been possible without the careful planning of the Events Committee, led by co-chairs Raven Gayheart and Alicia Robinson. They expertly guided the volunteers to setup and staff the various activities throughout the day.
The event was a huge success! Torchbearers is grateful for the opportunity to enhance Park East, celebrate its revitalization, and continue to contribute to the park’s development!