FLINT, Michigan -- Jerome Threlkeld has lived in North Flint’s Sarvis Park Neighborhood since 1973, and a simple amenity brought him there.
“You could walk everywhere,” Threlkeld said.
Threlkeld noted that there was a time when the neighborhood was racially integrated and had people of all backgrounds -- including judges, police officers, and other professionals -- who lived there.
“We had all of the resources we needed right here,” Threlkeld said. “Now, there’s still some, but we have to build it back up.”
Threlkeld has done his part over the years, helping with neighborhood cleanups and mowing in and near the park. He was recently recognized by the Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association for those efforts, and the association has tried to spread that spirit throughout the neighborhood.
The neighborhood association partnered with Michigan State Police, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department, and the Flint Police Department for a “Community Day” in Sarvis Park in September.
The event featured food, games, giveaways, U.S. Census information, and an up-close look at one of Flint’s historic neighborhoods, including the park’s basketball court, which has played a central role in the city’s sports history.
“This park is historic,” said City of Flint Chief of Police Terence Green. “That basketball court right there, I played there in my younger years, a lot of other athletes played there and went on to play pro sports. If you could play or wanted to get a good competitive game going, this was the park to find it.”
The event also represented an opportunity for law enforcement officers and personnel to get to know the neighborhood and its residents.
“This is showing that law enforcement is trying to bridge that gap with the community -- our state, city, and county police, we’re making an honest effort to build that community trust and partnership,” Green said.
The Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association continues to be active in its efforts to provide opportunities to engage neighbors. They’re planning a Halloween Candy Hunt and Parade at noon on October 31, with prizes and candy for kids 12 and younger. Costumes are encouraged (for information, call (810) 955-5402).
“It (the efforts of the Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association) makes me feel proud,” Green said. “It shows the city is bringing it back to those days when I was younger. This was a safe park, I felt comfortable playing here, there was no violence here, you could always come here and have fun and I’m proud to see that continue.”