Amigos of Garfield Park Receive $1500 Donation


los_amigos_committeeA typical summer evening in the park includes children laughing, adults chatting, and cars cruising by.  This past Monday it also included an area business donating $1,500 dollars to Amigos Park in downtown East Moline.  Ignacio “Nacho” Gonzalez and Joy Hayes owners of Los Cuates Cantina put together El Baile Del Sol to help raise money for a park adopted by neighbors of the park.  Over the past few years many East Moline parks were at risk of being closed down due to lack of funding that could provide maintenance for city parks.  Wendy Hilton-Morrow East Moline Park Board Treasurer, wanted to keep this from happening.  With the help of the East Moline Volunteer Corps Wendy helped a group of East Moline residents adopt Garfield Park.  “Last year Los Cuates donated $1,000 and this year they have donated another $1,500 to assist Garfield Park.”  Wendy hopes
that more parks get adopted and become successful like Watertown Memorial Park; she did admit that rebuilding these parks is a slow process but said; “Only good things can happen when community members take part in their parks.”
When Nacho and Joy moved to the Quad Cities from Chicago, Joy only knew Wendy Hilton-Morrow, a former classmate of hers at the University of Iowa.  Joy and Nacho both wanted to give back to the community so Wendy suggested donating to an East Moline Park.  Wendy knew the perfect one.  When Joy and Nacho drove by Garfield Park they both knew that it was the perfect place to help.  The park symbolized the hard working values, traditions, and family ties found in the Hispanic community.  Nacho and Joy organized the Baile Del Sol with help from Los Amigos Committee.  Nacho said, “I could not have done the dance without the help of our volunteers from the committee.  They really wanted to help raise money for their park.  They did a lot of work and put in a lot of time to help make the dance successful.”
Pano Gomez Jr. grew up near Garfield Park; he remembers all the neighborhood kids would meet there every day after school and every morning during the summer.  He said they all hung out at the park from when they were little kids all the way through high school.  Pano is very excited to see that park is still going and enjoys seeing his own kids play with the other children of the neighborhood, most of whose parents he grew up playing with.  Pano, a committee member of Amigos De Garfield Park hopes to see newer and safer equipment for the kids to play with in the future.  Alderman Rose Cervantes, committee president, remembers going to the city council for help with keeping the park running.  When Rose was told that there were no funds to keep the park alive she asked city council members what could be done.  An alderman told her about the adopt a park program so Rose went door to door asking people to help her start a committee that could raise funds to adopt their neighborhood park.
“We all grew up together down here and this is part of neighborhood.  People throw family parties down here and we throw parties down here for the kids.  The park is a good place where families can get together and always see somebody you know.  This park unites the neighborhood,” said Rose.
Last years Halloween party drew over 250 neighborhood children and this year promises to bring more.
Los Amigos committee are going to continue fundraising in hopes of bringing electricity down to the park, modern playground equipment, and a new pavilion with picnic tables that could host larger events.  This committee knows that this park is far from finished but with the help of the park board, donations, and a lot of hard work their dream park will become a reality that will host families for generations to come.

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