WILMINGTON — Showing off what a small park has to offer is the main point city officials and community members want to emphasize with the Picnic in the Park events in Xidas Park.
City Administrator Marian Miller told the News Journal the casual bring-your-own-lunch outings started after the city received concerned calls about the park and those who used it.
“We want to be responsive to citizens’ concerns, but we also wanted to have positive community interaction with this park,” said Miller.
Miller believes the park has great potential given its location — at the corner of South South and Sugartree streets — and “beauty” of it, she said.
This led to her and other city officials in to create the picnics as a way of promoting community engagement and awareness to Xidas Park’s potential.
Thursday’s picnic marked the third time they scheduled it, and the response has been positive, according to Miller, with as many as 15 people showing up.
She added that Mark Elliott, owner of The Escape next to the park, has asked that they continue the picnics, and he has been helping prep the park in advance.
Miller hopes to continue the picnics and wants them to coincide with Main Street Wilmington’s efforts to highlight Sugartree Street’s offerings.
Jason Stoops, who has expressed concerns about the park, is happy to see the park being used as its namesake (James Xidas) intended.
“It’s good to see the park being used for what Mr. Xidas donated the land for instead of there being the kind of people who scare away the good people,” said Stoops.
The park was dedicated to Xidas’ memory in 2016, five years after he was fatally stabbed in a robbery by Roger Curtis, who is serving a life sentence.
The park was formerly the location of Xidas’ business, The Manhattan Lounge.
For future Picnic in the Park events, check Facebook.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574