NORWOOD, Ohio -- A group of Norwood families hopes its once-a-week meetings in Victory Park will inject life and happiness into a space they said hasn't been a community center in a long while.
"A lot of the parks have fallen on rough times," said Eric Thompson, a longtime Norwood resident and city council candidate. "They're not used as much as they used to be. There's not the right people hanging out in them."
Thompson and other members of Project Reclaim Victory, a small movement comprising neighbors and families who want to see the space improved, meet once a week at Victory Park for an hour of recreation and beautification. While children played on the slide and swings Thursday, longtime Norwood resident Dana Boll helped cut the grass to keep the park looking neat and well-maintained.
"It's addicting," Boll said. "You feel good. I'm constantly amazed by all the great people living in Norwood (and) all the volunteerism that it sparked ever since we had the flood. Everybody comes out and helps each other."
Although it's only once a week, Thompson said he hopes these meetings will provide "little jumpstarts" that fuel a larger revitalization.
"The first time we did this and there were 30 or 40 kids running around, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,'" he said. "It really worked. … It sounds like an active park; it sounds like a happy park."
Alicia Rericha brought five children to Victory on Thursday, helping them hide hand-painted stones and playing with them on the playground.
"It's better than Pokemon," she said. "It doesn't use up the batteries in your phone."