Sunset Park shines in Eclectic neighborhood

Eclectic residents, business owner provide new playground for community
This is what the playground looked like before it was restored by Stepney and the community. (Source: Jason Stepney)
This is what the playground looked like before it was restored by Stepney and the community. (Source: Jason Stepney)

ECLECTIC, AL (WSFA) - An Eclectic business owner with a desire to provide a safe environment for children living in the Woodlawn subdivision has opened a new park. Sunset Park was unveiled on July 17 by Jason Stepney.

"The kids and parents know it is theirs and they are proud of it," said Jason Stepney.

Stepney has lived in Eclectic more than 15 years. He doesn't live in Woodlawn, but saw kids didn't have a place to run and play.

"Before there was nothing for them to play on. If you see a need you have to fill the need," said Stepney.

Last year Stepney was given an old playground. Instead of trashing it, with the help of volunteers, he restored it.

"It is all built out of scraps and donated material I just had," said Stepney. "It was a real community effort. I think God puts the resources with people with the heart to step up and that is what I am called to do."

The park has a slide, swings, clubhouse, rock climbing wall, mini race track, trampoline, and a pear tree.

"Hopefully in a couple of years this tree will bloom and have pears on it," said Stepney.

Kendra Kendrick said this park offers a safe environment for her three boys.

"My kids get off the bus they have somewhere to go. On the weekends they have somewhere to play," said Kendrick.

This space also holds a special place in Kendrick's heart because it was dedicated to the memory her of her daughter and cousin, who both lost their lives in separate tragedies.

"It is a big honor and I really appreciate it and I appreciate everything Jason is doing for these kids," said Kendrick.

Since opening, there have been several events to positively impact the children. In collaboration with the First Baptist Church of Eclectic there was a vacation bible school offered to the children. Most recently a back-to-school bash with free haircuts backpacks, school supplies, clothes and shoes was held at the park.

"It makes my heart smile. This work is my passion. I have taken on the duty to be a community leader. It will take a community effort to keep this up," said Stepney.

Stepney said there are plans to continue expanding. They now have their sights set on building a gazebo and pavilion for families to enjoy.

If you would like to get involved you with Sunset Park you can call Stepney at 334-580-7353 or email jaydonstep77@gmail.com.

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