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Lynn Park Project: Bringing a community together

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Posted at 6:13 PM, May 16, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — A west side Indianapolis community is coming together to focus on building stronger relationships with their neighbors.

The 'Lynn Park Project' is part of a considerable effort to reduce crime and encourage kids to be active. It's an effort they believe is working, and now have a call to action for other neighborhoods across the city.

Bringing a community back together, that is the entire mission behind the Lynn Park Project. It's a project that a local man who grew up in the Haughville community is passionate about.

"It's bigger than what I ever thought it would be," Teddrick Hardy, the man behind the project, said.

The project started as just an idea three years ago. A small group gathered at Lentz Park — or Lynn Park, as they've always called it — to play cards and have a barbecue.

For Hardy, it's all about the kids.

"Easy way of explaining it best is bringing unity to the community," Hardy said. "A lot of different activities from basketball camp... Volleyball games, kickball. Kids get to play with kids; that doesn't happen nowadays."

Hardy was born and raised in Haughville, where he spent a lot of his time as a kid at the park.

He played basketball at Ben Davis High School, and then at Lee University, eventually traveling to Mexico to play professionally.

But now, as he returns home, he's focusing on his community. A neighborhood that made him who he is.

"This is a community; like any other community we face the same struggles," Hardy said. "The highlight for me is Haughville, is like a brotherhood with a lot of things."

Hardy says Lentz Park, however, needs upgrades. There is grass growing between cracked concrete on the basketball court, and the net and backboards aren't holding up.

"It breaks my heart every time I see it," Hardy said. "I probably have ten or 15 nets that I am going to keep up for the summer; I'm going to keep doing my job until the city comes through and take over from there."

Hardy says the park has only one bench and one trash can.

RTV6 reached out to Indy Parks with the concerns. Indy Parks says it plans to install benches and trash cans by early June, and that the basketball court needs to be completely replaced.

The agency tells RTV6 they're grateful for neighbors and community organizations that come together to help care for and enhance our city's public spaces.

Indy Parks submitted this statement to the newsroom:

"With 211 parks, it's no secret that Indy Parks does not always have the resources to do everything we would like to do. We are grateful to have neighbors and community organizations come together to help us care for and enhance our city's public spaces.

You’ll see the results of those valuable efforts already at Lentz Park. We applaud the efforts of residents to bring activities into the park. And, our partners at IUPUI (as part of their day of service event) recently joined us to mulch the park’s playground and remove trash.

We are also working to install new benches and more trash cans. Our team inspected the basketball court to determine if we could seal the cracks and color coat, and due to the size of the cracks and surface settling we concluded there were no quick fixes.

We will continue to work with residents to identify needed resources to make improvements to Lentz Park and to support community activities and programs throughout the year."

Hardy believes the Lynn Park Project is serving a bigger purpose, which is to continue strengthening the bond between neighbors and ultimately reduce crime.

"A lot of people know this area, and what they've heard," Hardy said. "But when you come out here, and you see all the people standing around and shooting basketballs and playing games and interacting... you're like, 'oh wow, this ain't what we are used to hearing in the last few years in this community.'"

The Haughville native hopes other communities that face their own struggles take the model he is using and does the same thing at their neighborhood park.

Events are held every Sunday at Lentz Park and posted to the Lynn Park Project Facebook page.