St. Lucie County could use more residents like Annette Brown and members of Sheraton Park Homeowner’s Association.
Brown, the director of programs for the Morning After Center for Hope and Healing, was thrilled that the staff from several St. Lucie County departments spent time making improvements to the Sheraton Plaza Recreation Area, located off Juanita Avenue in northwest Fort Pierce. Crews from the county’s Parks Recreation and Facilities Department; Road and Bridge Division; and Environmental Resources Department removed invasive trees and shrubs; added 50 truck-loads of fill and dirt to grade the playground; installed fencing; painted restrooms and pavilions; resurfaced and lined the basketball court as well as added new rims.
However, Brown’s spirits were dampened when vandals came in days later and spray painted graffiti on picnic tables and pavilions at the five-acre park.
“I decided I was not going to let this breed here. I’m not going to tolerate that. If we don’t clean it up; we are going lose this community,” said Brown. “We can’t expect the county to do everything for us.”
So Brown mobilized others in the Sheraton Park Homeowner’s Association, including Betty Bradwell and Tiffany Kelly. Within hours of noticing the graffiti, the group drove to the store to purchase paint and began cleaning up the picnic tables and pavilion. In addition to repainting, the group also picked up more than 1,500 pounds of trash from the park.
“This is my community and I love this community. We aren’t going to let some thugs ruin it,” added Brown.
St. Lucie County Parks, Recreation and Facilities Manager Willie Redden is grateful for residents like Brown.
“Our staff works extremely hard to take care of all our facilities, parks, stadiums, playgrounds and athletic fields, but we can’t be everywhere all the time. We need more groups to take an active role in keeping their community safe and clean,” said Redden.
Future improvements to Sheraton Plaza Recreation Area, located at 2508 Juanita Ave., included $100,000 in playground equipment, a new playground pavilion, an upgraded irrigation system, roughly $40,000 in landscaping, benches and signage, and additional parking.
If residents or homeowners associations are interesting in getting involved in helping to clean up and watch over St. Lucie County parks, contact the Parks, Recreation and Facilities staff at 772-462-1522. For a detailed list of all St. Lucie County parks, preserves and beach access visit our interactive map at http://gis.stlucieco.gov/parkspreserves.