In an effort to reduce crime and broaden relations between public safety officials and youth, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin will present “Peace in the Park’’ this summer at Legion Field and recreation centers.
The launch will be held on Friday, June 14 at Legion Field from 6 to 9 p.m. with three-on-three basketball, DJs, games and food. BPD has challenged the fire department to a basketball game on June 14.
This is the first of a series of summer-long activities that will last until school reopens.
Studies have shown that crime tends to increase during summer months, particularly among young adults. The goal of this initiative is to have Birmingham police officers, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service personnel and community partners engage with the public in a fun atmosphere.
“Every day, our public safety officials handle issues to keep our city and us safe. Through ‘Peace in the Park,’ we want to give the public a closer view of them and how they serve,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin. “Through these interactions, we hope that deeper connections, as well as an appreciation for peace, grow.”
Woodfin said he has long encouraged people to step off the sidelines to get involved and “I’m excited to hear how employees from so many city departments have worked together to make this a reality and how community partners want to do outreach. I encourage everyone to bring their lawn chairs and get ready to enjoy Friday evenings full of fellowship and fun.’’
There will also be a hip-hop fitness class and line dancing at the main stage. Rides, face painting, a balloon artist, a video game truck and public safety vehicles at the event.
“Peace in the Park’’ will allow the public, especially young residents, to see police and fire in a different light as they face off during a three-on-three basketball challenge.
“People may always see us working together when we respond to emergencies, but they seldom see us in competition,’’ said BPD Deputy Chief Darnell Davenport. ‘Peace in the Park’ will be a different engagement in terms of how police and fire will interact – on the basketball court. Through a peaceful and competitive manner, we will demonstrate how sportsmanship and relationships in the community should be.’’
The Birmingham Police Department and the Mayor’s Office of Peace and Policy Crime Reduction working group suggested that Legion Field be open on Friday nights this summer, during high-crime hours, to provide a place where community members could engage in peaceful recreational activities. The rec centers were added to expand the reach of the program across the city.
This strategy is part of the city’s overall strategic crime reduction goals. The police department will use Peace in the Park to deepen its relationship with the community by participating in many of the activities at Legion Field and the rec centers.
“Peace in the Park’’ will alternate locations between Legion Field and rec centers every Friday through Aug. 9. However, no events will be held on Friday, July 5 or Friday, July 26. Basketball, swimming, music and games will be offered at the rec centers.
For more information, visit www.birminghamal.gov/peace.
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Three-on-three basketball, rides, games, DJs, food and more will be available at Legion Field on these dates:
Friday, June 14
Friday, June 28
Friday, July 19
Friday, Aug. 2
Basketball, swimming, music and games will be available at the following rec centers on these dates:
Friday, June 21 – Memorial Park, 524 Sixth Ave. South
Friday, July 12 – East Pinson Valley, 3000 Jefferson State Parkway
Friday, Aug. 9 – McAlpine Park, 1115 Avenue F
*Swimming will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m.