The Gainesville community is invited to attend the Barbara Higgins Park Dedication Ceremony, held Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m. The park is located at 1352 SE Second St. The dedication is made possible through the support of the Neighborhood Housing & Development Corporation, Lowe’s Home Improvement, the Wild Spaces & Public Places Program, the Springhill Church and the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.
As an Alachua County Housing Authority Commissioner, Barbara Higgins fought for better housing for the poor and worked tirelessly to improve the conditions of the Sugarhill neighborhood. She was honored with the establishment of a scholarship in her name to be awarded to minority students enrolled at Santa Fe College who were living in properties managed by the housing authority.
Higgins is also noted for being the first black woman to work professionally in the Alachua County Courthouse, spending more than 16 years registering disenfranchised voters, and helping to ensure all voices were heard. She received numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including letters of commendations from President Reagan and Governors Graham and Chiles.
A neighborhood picnic celebrating the life of Barbara Higgins will follow the dedication ceremony. The picnic is hosted by the Springhill Church, where she was an active member for 60 years.
Prior to the dedication ceremony on June 6-7, Barbara Higgins Park will be closed to the public for park improvements. On Thursday, June 6, city workers will pressure wash playground equipment, swings, the pavilion and the bus shelter; remove existing furniture; pour new concrete pads; install new borders and place new signage hardware. On Friday, June 7, as part of NeighborWorks Week (June 3-7), volunteers will clean and paint the pavilion and playground equipment and install new park benches and picnic tables. NeighborWorks Week is an annual national event for which local organizations mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers in a week for neighborhood change and awareness.
Food will be provided for volunteers by Community Bank & Trust of Florida. Those interested in participating in the cleanup should contact LaShundra Coley’Hale, volunteer program coordinator, at ColeyHaleLD@cityofgainesville.org or 352-393-8335.
To learn more about NeighborWorks Week, please visit http://www.neighborworks.org/Community/NeighborWorks-Week.