The Dark Park – Part 1

Grand Opening of the Cherrywood Recreation and Entertainment Park 

The two wealthy residents of Cherrywood, crucial to the project, along with the recreation commission committee members, were grateful that after many months of planning, fundraising, and sweat equity, the project was finally done. They positively bubbled over with pride in their speeches, unveiling the efforts of all involved in the park’s construction. A news crew was in attendance, waiting for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to begin. The townspeople were eager as well, with smiles all around. The atmosphere felt charged with excitement.

Without the land donation, this would have never even gotten off the ground, but thankfully, the Winchesters, one of the founding family’s of Cherrywood, understood the park’s future benefits. For their generosity, the committee memorialized them with bronze plaques embedded in the entrance gates, recognizing their efforts for the community. The descendants would look back with pride on their family’s investment in the park for generations to come.

It was to be the go-to place, one the young at heart of every age could enjoy healthy play and joyful fitness. This park hoped to engage families but also those needing to incorporate more healthy activities in their lives. It would feature the safest, most modern equipment available to date. And the recreation commission secured enough funding through grants for the upkeep and maintenance of the park through 2050. It helped the city avoid raising taxes on the residents; they were mighty happy about that. 

You see, the town of Cherrywood had the unfortunate news-making title of having the highest obesity rate in the United States. They were #1. By providing a way to engage in fun fitness, the town hoped to turn around its reputation and its residents’ well-being. Had the community not pulled together to address their situation, the citizens’ future would have had a bleak outlook. They were dying at much too young an age from this health-crisis. The goal was to help turn the tides, to become the healthiest and fittest town instead. Admirable, if they could achieve it.

So with hope and optimism, each person on the committee and the Winchesters stood ready with their hands holding up the long red ribbon, waiting for the mayor of Cherrywood to take the ceremonial scissors and, with a quick downward stroke, to cut it apart. As soon as they did the deed, the townspeople cheered with jubilation. And the crowd moved forward forcefully, walking right past the committee and into the complex.

Shame the townspeople didn’t know that the land had been used as a dumping site of nuclear waste and other pollutants. An out-of-state company had illegally and secretly shipped in tons of barrels to be buried there for decades. The Winchesters never knew.

Nor did the townspeople ever know the history of the people from the 1400s. The settlement of Cherrywood in the late 1600s by the Pilgrims wasn’t aware the Chenwalk Indians had lived on that land, nor did they know there was originally a burial site there. It added a whole other level to this situation. 

TO BE CONTINUED ON TUESDAY…

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