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Giant bubbles added to the fun at the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic June 25 in Bancroft Park.
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OWN picnic raises nearly $600 for Bancroft Park; over 200 attend

      
Under the pavilion in the center of Bancroft Park, people stand in line for food during the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic June 25. Meanwhile, a person standing outside studies posters explaining efforts by OWN and other groups to curtail panhandling and bring Westside community groups together.
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An estimated 200 people or more flocked to the annual Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) picnic June 25 in Bancroft Park.
       Promoted as a fundraiser for park improvements, the event raised nearly $600 toward that cause, according to OWN President Jim Thompson. “The event was our best to date,” he enthused “It was a great community turnout.”
       With live music from the Jupe and The Gemini band, the two-hour-plus affair offered grilled brats and a variety of side dishes, desserts and non-alcoholic beverages. The weather cooperated with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.
       Also set up were booths promoting various citizen services, including the Westside Community Center, Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak Library District, City Police, City Planning and the taxpayer-funded Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) project for Colorado Avenue west of 31st Street.
      
Set up in the Bancroft Park pavilion, The Jupe and The Gemini band performed for the picnic.
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The picnic money for the park was raised from attendees' $5-per-family donations. This is the first year people have been asked to pay at the picnic.
       The Bancroft bandshell was charred by a January fire.
       The city allocated money for repairs in March; however, added work items, though master-planned by City Parks, have not been specifically funded as yet.
       A city-recognized advocate for the older Westside, OWN has been holding the picnic since the 1990s. OWN was aided by Colorado Springs block grant money until 2014, when such funds got diverted to the city's homeless outreach program. But OWN has kept the event going, with the help of donations.
       At this year's picnic, OWN also fundraised just over $500 for itself, selling raffle tickets for roughly $2,400 worth of goods and services donated by local businesses, according to Thompson.
       OWN plans to give the money raised for the park from the picnic to the Old Colorado City Foundation, which has previously raised about $30,000 earmarked for park upgrades and met with City Parks about that effort.
       Among the event attendees were City Councilmembers Tom Strand and Bill Murray, both of whom had joined council's unanimous bandshell-repair allocation vote in March.
       Cooking up the picnic bratwursts was Welling Clark, who had served as OWN president for 11 years (stepping down this spring to start a new umbrella-type advocacy group, the Alliance for the Historic Westside).
       The OWN picnic had been held in Bancroft consistently until 2010, moving to the Westside Community Center for the past six years, and typically drawing between 100 and 150 attendees. The OWN board chose Bancroft for this year's location to show community support after the fire.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 6/25/17; Community: Neighborhoods)

LEFT: Past OWN President Welling Clark, the grillmaster for the June 25 picnic, gets a hand from current President Jim Thompson. RIGHT: Steve Fisher (far left) and Karl Shafer (second from left, at table) provide electric-safety demonstrations during the OWN picnic as part of Colorado Springs Utilities Community Safety Education Program.
LEFT: Aundrea Fuller offered a plethora of materials at the Westside Community Center booth. RIGHT: The Westside Avenue Action Plan had representatives on hand.
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