Waterville South End Festival a success

Sophia Poulin, 2, of Winslow, checks out the firetruck with firefighter Scott Holst during the South End Festival.

by Jackie Dupont, Chairman of South End Neighborhood Association

In 2001 a group of concerned residents and supporters became the group now known as the South End Neighborhood Association (SENA), a group driven to revitalize the neighborhood. Along the way community champions and partners rose up to support the work of SENA, to promote a brighter future and invigorate pride and community spirit through programs, activities, and advocacy. These endeavors would not be possible without investment from neighbors, local businesses, and community groups.

Their contributions to the festival enable SENA to continue making a difference such as:

A bigger and better bike repair and swap where close to 100 children received bikes, learned rider safety, and connected with adults in meaningful ways that foster better self-esteem;

Expanding the readership of the community newsletter, on and offline, through 11 different locations throughout the city and the neighborhood;

Bradley Dickey, 12, of Waterville, enjoying the rock wall climbing at the South End Festival, on August 1. Photos by Mark Huard, owner
of Central Maine Photography

Community events such as WinterFest, Halloween Block Party, South End Officer Meet and Greet, and the Annual Clean Up, engaged residents of all ages inside and outside of the neighborhood.

Crime watch signs were replaced, a walking trail was established on Leeman Island, and playground equipment was improved at Green Street Park.

When we look back on all of our accomplishments we can not help but see the reason why we all love this neighborhood and this city. It’s because we work together to lift each other up. The South End Neighborhood’s family friendly events reached over 600 people this past year and that number continues to grow. The South End Festival is the largest event held in collaboration with KVCAP and the city of Waterville. Close to 500 people attend this festival!

We continue to work with the Waterville Police Department and the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program and dozens of community partners to provide this event each year, free of charge so that all of our neighbors and their children can participate. Over 70 percent of the families and elderly residents in the South End live at or below the poverty line. Business contributions help to ensure that everyone can enjoy the event, including games, activities, and BBQ, sponsored by our local police and fire departments and health and civic groups.

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