Chattanooga police officer upgrades childhood park
Cracks were starting to show at Pringle Park in Chattanooga. It was hard for Chattanooga Officer Robin Davenport to watch it fall apart because he grew up just a few blocks away.
Cracks were starting to show at Pringle Park in Chattanooga. It’s a park that doesn't see as much traffic as other parks on the Southside, and the city did little to keep up the park.
It was hard for Chattanooga Officer Robin Davenport to watch it fall apart because he grew up just a few blocks away. Years later, he takes time out of his patrol to shoot some hoops and make a difference at a park he calls home.
"I would dribble my basketball through the church parking lot and come down and play ball,” Davenport said.
It's those childhood memories Davenport reflects on when he walks up to Pringle Park.
"It was a safe haven for all the kids in the neighborhood to come here,” he said.
Over the last three decades things have changed, the pavement was unsafe and the playground needed a little TLC.
"It had cracks in the court, weeds growing up through it and it was just unkempt, hard to play ball on a surface like that,” Davenport explained.
Though it's not in his job description as an officer, Davenport decided to take action. Since April, he has worked with city leaders and volunteers to make much-needed upgrades because he knows how having a safe place to play can make a positive impact on a community.
"It’s the place where I learned how to play basketball, learned how to be a team member, good team building skills and a lot of love from this community,” he recalled.
About 25 volunteers spent about four months painting, spreading mulch and repaving the basketball court. Neighbors say the upgrades are already making a difference.
"Nowadays, because a lot of kids don't get out and play, they like playing video games but now there's young boys playing, I see them playing basketball,” John Jones said.
For Davenport it's not about the applause, it's about building relationships and setting future generations on the right path.
“For the police department to come down and get hands-on and rub elbows with some of the people in this area, it's great. It brings safety and the feel of love and everybody appreciates it,” he said.
Officer Davenport isn't done yet, he plans to improve other parks around the city in the near future. He said he plans to work with Council Member Demetrus Coonrod to fix parks in her district.
The upgrades at Pringle Park didn't cost the officer or volunteers any money just their time. Competitive Athletics made the upgrades to the basketball court free of charge.