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The community turned out en masse in Kingston Frost Park for the unveiling of artworks that spell out the name of the venue in an initiative that drew in youth, artists and other residents.

Mel Wilmans is a regular visitor to the parkMel Wilmans is a regular visitor to the parkMEL Wilmans, a 79-year-old, long-time Brixton resident, has fond memories of Kingston Frost Park. The place "means a lot to him".

Wilmans, who has lived in Brixton since the age of 11, said the park was a marvellous place where people enjoyed a day out, had picnics and took wedding photos when he was growing up.

"I am glad that the community is working together to improve the park," he said.

Wilmans was talking at an event held at the park on 22 March when City Parks, in partnership with the Brixton Community Forum, unveiled the Kingston Frost Park's community mosaic project.

The project was initiated by the forum with the aim to create a healthy, beautiful space that showcases community ownership.

The Brixton Community Forum is a group elected by the community to improve the area. It represents all Brixton residents.

Mosaic art

A young visitor admires the mosaicA young visitor admires the mosaicYoung people are taught the art of mosaic at the Brixton Recreation Centre, and the project gave the youth the opportunity to practise what they have been learning. Members of the community, children and artists also participated in creating the mosaic pieces.

The environmental-themed mosaic artworks are made up of the letters that spell out the name of the park. They are installed at the northern entrance to the park.

Katja Naumann, the ward councillor in the area, said she thinks the park has become a beacon of hope to many people who live in Brixton.

Naumann likened the Brixton community to a tree planted by a stream, as everything they do prospers. "The community have something that draws people together, where everybody brings a little bit and receives a lot in return," she said.

Another person who was impressed by improvements in the park was 24-year-old Maurice Posniak. He said he spent much of his childhood in the park as he was born nearby, in Auckland Park. However because of security problems, he had stopped going there.

Magnificent park

City Parks will provide 24 hour security to parks, says Oscar OliphantCity Parks will provide 24 hour security to parks, says Oscar Oliphant"Having not been to the park for quite a while and staying right next to it, I am just amazed at the incredible difference that we've got here. I think it looks magnificent," said Posniak.

Speaking on behalf of the community, Mark Schearer said the mosaic is a symbol of the process that the community has been going through to help fix up the park and make it better for everyone who lives in the area.

Oscar Oliphant, City Parks' senior manager for stakeholder relations, was the programme director for the day.

Oliphant commended the community for working together. "I think this community set a very good example of what could be done if we work together," he said.

He also assured the community that City Parks is in the process of signing a huge deal with a security company that will make sure that the parks are safe 24 hours a day. "We want to ensure safety at all times at the parks," he added.

Kingston Frost Park is located at the corner of Putney and Wimbledon Roads. Residents said the park used to be bursting with aloes but through neglect and theft it became a wasteland occupied by drug dealers and homeless people.

Source: Joburg.org.za