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Springfield church, building a park for the community, wants neighbors to get to know one another

Artist rendering of Northeast Community Park located at the site of the future park.
Michele Skalicky
Artist rendering of Northeast Community Park located at the site of the future park.

Northeast Springfield Park will be located behind Praise Assembly on N. Glenstone.

A Springfield church is building a park for the community.

A 40-acre field behind Praise Assembly on the city’s northeast side will be turned into the Northeast Community Park with several amenities over the next five years.

At a recent church service before a groundbreaking for Phase One, Alan Beauchamp, pastor of Praise Assembly, talked about the project.

"Essentially and every simply, we are building a park — a park for our community," he said. "A park that makes this space available for the community to gather together because, ultimately, that gathering together is a good enough end in and of itself."

The idea for the park began about five years ago when the Springfield-Greene County Health Department reached out to Pastor Beauchamp. They wanted to know if the church would allow neighborhood children to use a playground the church had at the time. The area had been identified as a play desert. The answer was a resounding yes – and that’s when church members began thinking about what more they could do.

Thanks to donations by church members and a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation, work has begun on a pavilion and walking paths that will meander through native plantings "for our neighbors to walk in the morning, a place for our kids to play tag, a place to walk the dog at the end of the day," Beauchamp said. "We want to make this accessible for our community to enjoy together."

The number one question Beauchamp said he gets is why? Why is a church building a park for the community?

He said they want neighbors to get to know one another. It’s all about love for northeast Springfield and its residents.

"We love our community. We want good for our community," Beauchamp said, "and so, if we want to put our community first, then that results in some kind of action or gift that would end up going towards the community."

Beauchamp hopes the park will increase property values, lower crime in the area and improve mental health.

Church member Vince Crunk, who has led the efforts toward a park from the beginning, is looking forward to when Northeast Community Park is open.

"I'll walk my dog here," he said. "I'll take walks and take my grandson — bring my grandson here. You know, a good place to ride his bike and just have a place to play."

When Phase five is completed in about five years, the park will consist of the walking paths and pavilion, a playground that will be accessible to all, pickleball and other courts, a ball field and a community garden.

Beauchamp expects the project will cost at least $1.5 million.

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Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.