City Council approves funds towards Akoma Unity Center/Anne Shirrells Park Beautification Project

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Photo AUC: From left - Rikke Van Johnson Ret Ward 6 City Council member, Sam Catalano MAC Foundation member, City of San Bernardino staff, Kimberly Calvin Akoma’s ED, Alex MAC Foundation member, Dolores Armstead Akoma’s Board Member.
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Akoma Unity Center/Anne Shirrells Park beautification project located in the heart of San Bernardino City’s Westside, is set to begin mid-March 2020 following the San Bernardino City Council’s vote to award the remaining $83,308 towards the project.  

The beautification project has been in process for several months with Akoma, More Attractive Communities (MAC) Foundation and the City of San Bernardino. In August of 2019, Akoma was granted $135,000 from the MAC Foundation towards the beautification of Anne Shirrells Park. This beautification project aims to inspire and revitalize the community’s spirit, while boosting the financial resilience of this neighborhood —giving residents a sense of pride and ownership.

“It gives me great joy to support and represent the community of Ward 6 along with other collaborative stakeholders such as; San Bernardino City, MAC Foundation, and San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD). We will continue to bring forth economic development, community entertainment, and other vital resources in order to promote family and community engagement” says Kimberly Calvin, Akoma’s Executive Director.

Revitalization plans include: the redesigning of the Anne Shirrells Community Garden, Zen Garden, and a multi-use volleyball court. Akoma’s vision for the dormant garden is that it will become an outdoor learning center for Scholars of Rio Vista Elementary and all of SBCUSD to expand their knowledge of environmental sustainability while growing food to share with the community. Akoma desires to make this grow space a hands on community project. In addition, the Zen Garden will be created for Scholars to practice mindfulness while enjoying nature and a multi-use volleyball court to provide a safe place for children to play.

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Akoma will be partnering with home grown muralist Brittney Price to bring forth a vibrant mural to create a welcoming art scape that encompasses the culture and values of this neighborhood. Paying homage to several Ancestors who gave of themselves for the benefit of a greater Ward 6 community Vivian Nash-Dukes, Bobby Vega, Francis Grice, Valerie Pope, John Griffin, Ratibu Jackcocks, and legendary Dr. Anne Shirrells.

Unfortunately, there continues to be a shortfall of funds to refurbish the basketball court. The basketball court needs a new surface, basket-ball poles, and lights with a projected cost of another $90,000. Akoma is seeking additional support from stakeholders to contribute to the Basketball court portion of this Beautification Project. Akoma would like to thank Pastor Raymond Turner with Temple Missionary Baptist Church and their Congregation for leading the way to the completion of this magnificent Beautification project with their community collaboration and donation of $1,000.

Akoma Unity Center is a 501 C(3) Non-Profit organization committed to providing children with high quality, no-cost afterschool structured recreation, and developmental programs in a safe and supervised environment. If you would like to learn more information about Akoma Unity Center or be a part of the beautification effort please visit our website at www.akomaunitycenter.org or call (909) 217-7956.

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