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Human Relations Council starts day of service, adopts park as part of MLK celebration

SALISBURY — In adopting Kelsey Scott Park on Monday, the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council wanted people to understand the importance of taking care of what we have, said Pastor Dee Ellison, chair of the council.

Salisbury’s weekend-long celebration of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. looked different because of COVID-19, including moving most events online. During a virtual, prerecorded event published online Monday afternoon, community leaders gave speeches, sung and rang a fireman’s bell 39 times in memory of King. The Human Relations Council also created a new day of service during which it adopted Kelsey Scott Park.

Roughly 22 acres on Old Wilkesboro Road, the park contains a playground, swings, basketball courts, disc golf course, softball field and tables and grills. It’s also connected to the Salisbury Greenway.

Because of the coronavirus, Ellison said, it wasn’t possible to hold the same type of celebration events as a normal year, but the Human Relations Council still wanted to do something meaningful.

“This day of caring allows the community, as a whole, to come together and to work together and take care of the resources that we have been given here,” Ellison said.

Josh Bergeron / Salisbury Post -People helping with Monday’s cleanup walk on a baseball field in the background of this photo at Kelsey Scott Park.

Dennis Rivers, who is co-chair of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration events, said the Human Relations Council wanted to find an out-of-the-box idea. Because of the community the park serves and its status as one of the largest parks in the city limits, it was a good fit, he said.

Post-COVID-19, Ellison and Rivers said a day of service will become a regular feature during the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, perhaps after the regular breakfast event. Multiple service days will also be planned during the year.

The small group of people who attended Monday’s event found several bags worth of trash and a tire. Near a playground, Corey Hill, son Grant and daughter Gwen found some broken glass. Ann Little spent time looking for trash near the roadway. At the edge of the park, City Manager Lane Bailey and Parks and Recreation Director Nick Aceves found a number of items to fill their bag.

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