Summers in Eugene, Oregon usually provide the town with a lot of heat and sunshine. Since school is out, children have a lot of idle time on their hands. Rain, typical during winter and spring, has less of a presence. People in the Churchill neighborhood spend a lot of time outdoors, and summer is no exception. Neighbors spending time interacting with each other can have a positive effect on a community. Having too much time on your hands can create some unpleasant situations too.
The Churchill Sports Park hosts Fun for All, a program run by the City of Eugene Recreation Services. Tirzah Brounstein has been working for the program for two years. She loves the neighborhood children. She enjoys working with the diverse mix of people that live in Churchill. Not everyone in the community plays nice though.
Recently, Brounstein found a key broken in the lock of her Fun for All storage area. She has also noticed an increase in graffiti around the park. She said she doesn’t like the grafitti or teenagers going crazy.
Renne Miller has lived in the Churchill neighborhood for two and half years. She and her daughter own and operate Rivalz Sports Bar & Grill. She believes that unsupervised teenagers can be a problem in the community at times. She has had to deal with teenagers loitering, or with vandalism in her restaurant bathrooms. She had to stop giving out free ice water when as many as 10-15 teenagers would come to her place just to hang out. They’re not all bad though. She said that “for the most part, kids are respectful.”
The sunshine doesn’t only attract vandalism. Many neighbors use the Churchill Community Garden. Jen Anonia is the Gardens Program Manager for FOOD for Lane County. She said that the Churchill garden produced 12,ooo pounds of food for the county’s food bank. She also said that the community garden rents lots of land to local families and allows them to save around $500 a year on groceries. Daniel Romero, who has worked at the garden for two years, said the garden provided him with his own type of natural food store.
Summer will be ending soon and youth in the neighborhood will return to school. Hopefully, getting back to the classroom can remedy some of the problems of an idle summer, leaving Churchill with more good in the community.