Pocket park dedicated in late Springfield resident’s honor

Credit: Brett Turner

Credit: Brett Turner

The memory of a late Springfield resident known for giving back to his community will live on with the opening of a new pocket park in south Springfield.

A formerly vacant lot at 1403 Linden Ave. was dedicated Saturday morning as Tink Memorial Park in honor of John “Tink” Mitchell who lived on that property and ran several small businesses in the area.

The space contains several flowers and bushes, fresh mulch, trees providing shade, benches, a brick walkway, a literary access point where visitors can take or leave a book and capped by a plaque with a bio of Mitchell.

The Conscious Connect CDC led the project, acquiring the property from the Clark County Land Bank and got further support from the Springfield Foundation. While this is the third pocket park on the south side The Conscious Connect has helped open, this one has extra special meaning for Karlos L. Marshall, co-founder of the organization along with Moses Mbeseha.

When they got the property, a lady came by and was in tears. Nancy Gaines is Mitchell’s daughter and where she lived. Marshall’s mom lived next door and was best friends with Gaines.

“It was a full-circle moment for me,” Marshall said. “It shows when you move with purpose, things go full-circle like that.”

He said the goal is to have multiple such pocket parks within walking distances in south Springfield neighborhoods. Other similar areas have cropped up in these neighborhoods in recent years.

Credit: Brett Turner

Credit: Brett Turner

“It’s a mental respite, a place you can go and get away from everything happening here and in the world. You can feel good about going and getting away, sitting in the shade and getting a book out,” Marshall said.

Ethan Harris, executive director of the Clark County Land Bank, said every property like this has a story with unique people and history behind them and explained it’s hard for the organization to save them all, but is glad when they can.

“Without them, we start to lose the fabric of the community,” Harris said.

Members of Mitchell’s family attended the dedication and spoke proudly of Tink. He was born here in 1935 and moved to Linden Avenue in 1968, and known for owning Williams Market, apartments and a restaurant on Yellow Springs St., with the area known as “Tink’s Corner”.

Family members are reminded constantly of what Tink meant to them by community members. Kyle Williams described his grandfather as a kind, generous man who came from nothing and never forgot when it came to helping others, including giving food to those in need.

“Those values stuck with our family. What you want to leave with people is how you treat them,” he said.

Lewis McCoy, another grandson, said there were so many stories like that, and talked about how he would ride by the property and visited the sight and is pleased now everyone can.

“This definitely helps the community and gives the youth something to look up to,” said Teresa Mitchell, another of Tink’s daughters.

As he explored the space with family members, Williams said he hopes further such parks will be added to the city. Marshall said his organization continues looking for development and literary opportunities.

Marshall credited Christopher Martin of All Day Mowing and Eric Thomas of E.T.’s Lawn Maintenance & Landscaping for their work on the project, as well as Lucas Smith, who volunteers to do the landscaping at all three pocket parks.

“It’s a blessing for me. I like giving back,” said Smith.

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