Lexington residents welcomed a new park Friday on Meetze Road.
Drafts-Skenes Community Garden and Park was built on a one-acre property on Meetze Road at the former stie of an abandoned home. Police say the house was used as a location for buying crack cocaine.
The homeowner agreed to allow the abandoned house to be demolished and agreed to let volunteers to build the community garden and park.
The construction of the community garden and park is part of a community restoration effort that the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, local churches, civic groups and businesses started in 2009 on Meetze Road and English Drive — an area that used to be a hot spot for drug dealing and other criminal activity, Sheriff James Metts said.
“We are here to culminate many years of hard work and collaboration to take this community away from the drug dealers,” Metts said. “All kinds of criminal activity plagued this community not too many years ago, but the good, law-abiding people in this community joined law enforcement and others to clean this community up. It truly has been a transformation.”
The sheriff's department, Home Depot, local churches, civic groups, businesses and residents helped create the park and garden, which includes a children’s playground, community garden, picnic tables and privacy fence. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday morning.
Tim Bupp, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, said the construction of the community garden and park marks the beginning of what will be a long-term effort to enhance the quality of life for residents in the Meetze Road and English Drive community.
“This is a testimony to God’s righteousness. We need to tear down barriers and build relationships,” Bupp said. “This is how change really happens. We need to bring God’s element here to this community.”
East Lexington Resident Deputy David Nieves coordinated the participation of the sheriff’s department in the community restoration project, Metts said.
About 110 volunteers built the community garden and park.
The sheriff’s department and Zion Lutheran Church helped local residents create a nonprofit organization, which applied for financial aid from Home Depot, Metts said. The non-profit organization received a $5,500 grant from Home Depot.
The following organizations helped with the community restoration
project: Zion Lutheran Church, The New Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, Thomas Kleckley, Lucas Porta-Jon Service, Sox & Freeman Tree Experts, TD Bank in
Lexington, Consumers Feed & Seed Store, Southern Commercial Development, Craig Bowers, Michael Magruder, Cayce-West Columbia Lions Club, W.P. Law, Tractor Supply, Southern Signatures, LLC, and CJMW Architecture.
Submitted by the Lexington County Sheriff's Department