Wild West Park slated for Coulwood

by Molly Reitter

CHARLOTTE – Mountain Island’s Coulwood neighborhood is about to get a Wild West makeover.

Keep America Beautiful, a national volunteer-based community action and education organization, has awarded Coulwood’s neighborhood volunteer board a $4,200 Adopt-a-Neighborhood beautification grant to create a Wild West Park. The natural play park, to be created with recycled materials, will resemble an old western logging town, said board member Marissa Moses, who applied for the grant.

Plans include surrounding community gardens featuring cooking herbs, tea leaves and other easy-to-grow plants. A worm bin will be located near the garden for community composting.

The dream, Moses said, is that “parents and grandparents can sit on benches or garden while they watch children play.”

The grant money will also be used to create a National Wildlife Backyard Habitat butterfly and bird garden on the neighborhood’s vast wooded property. Throughout the year, Moses said, the neighborhood plans to hold National Wildlife Federation “Be Out There Days” to encourage Coulwood residents to step outside and enjoy nature. The board plans to use Charlotte’s Reedy Creek Nature Park as a model.

“The park is going to be a natural playscape,” said Coulwood board member Jill Robbins. “We are excited to be adding play equipment to our park that flows with the natural setting of Coulwood. We feel that it is most cost effective, safe and beautiful to use recycled, hand-built products for this park.”

The well-known Mountain Island neighborhood, built in 1953, does not have a formal homeowners association or collect homeowners fees from its 1,200 residents. Members of the neighborhood’s board of directors serve on a volunteer basis.

Coulwood Board of Directors President Andrew Decann said the project should help the community reach out to new, younger families.

“Coulwood is in transition. It is becoming a young community slowly,” Decann said. “The future will be determined by how the new residents that have only been in the community for a few years work within the community.”

The board hopes that the park will become a gathering place for community members, where residents can meet their neighbors while children play in a safe environment, Decann said.

Even those outside of the Coulwood community are stepping in to lend a hand. Various Scout troops plan to pitch in, and students from Allenbrook Elementary, an inner-city Charlotte school, have signed up to help.

“The hope is that children can learn to work with nature and still enjoy themselves,” he said.

Out of $5,000 awarded by Keep America Beautiful for projects within the Charlotte area, $4,200 went to the Wild West Park. The organization forms public-private partnerships and programs that encourage residents nationwide to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment.

“The future of Coulwood is going to be amazing,” Moses said. “We have been working hard as the torch has been passed from the older generations on to the younger. We are hoping to see more of the young home owners in our neighborhood join in.”

Want to help?

To help the Coulwood neighborhood complete its Wild West Park, email
Marissa Moses at moses_family@yahoo.com

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