The Fountain of Youth Park was on the to-do list for the city's Restoration of Hope project, and on Monday work started to check it off the list.
Despite being within sight of city hall, the small park's fountain, benches and stone walkways were easy to overlook. Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks said she hopes the facelift by volunteers and city public works employees will get the park noticed and used.
"The idea is to make it more user-friendly instead of just being here," Jackson-Hicks said.
Nestled by Barack Obama Avenue and East Broadway in downtown East St. Louis, the park was built in the early 1990s. It fell into disrepair.
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On Monday overgrown brush and trees were removed. Stones around the fountain were also reset, many of which have personal messages and the names of donors to the original park. Work should take about three weeks, Jackson-Hicks said.
The Restoration of Hope project started three years ago and in 2016 refurbished the "Welcome to the city of East St. Louis, IL" sign near 10th Street and Interstate 64, fixed a basketball court at the Samuel Gompers Homes and conducted beautification projects around the city.
Volunteers are welcome to pitch in on April 21 and April 28. For more information about volunteering at the park or with the Restoration of Hope project, call the mayor's office at 618-482-6601.
"We're super excited about this project. We're just beautifying this area," Jackson-Hicks said.