Trenton's Mill Hill Park needs Derrick McEady back (LA PARKER COLUMN)

Curtis, a Trenton resident, found a bench in Mill Hill Park across from a lawn full of dandelions. (LA Parker/The Trentonian)

Curtis, a city resident who was taking a lunchtime stroll in Mill Hill Park, also took a walk down memory lane.

“Remember that guy who used to take care of this place? “That park was so beautiful back then,” Curtis remembers.

That guy was Derrick McEady and back then Mill Hill Park looked like a diamond cut in this tough city. Referred to as “D,” this cat made Mill Hill Park glow with the hustle and pride needed to succeed in any endeavor.

In the summer of 2022, the Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) fired McEady, a landscape manager, and replaced him with a lawn care service.

Of course, fiscal responsibility is important, especially for TDA, but the removal of McEady represents the kind of cuts made by people who have no understanding of values. Trust me, McEady had value.

The other day, Mill Hill Park looked rundown and forbidding as Curtis walked towards a bench to meet a friend. Thousands of dandelions, their white tips framed by sunlight, have invaded once-pristine lawns. Not real flowers. Just a few people. Lawn care lacks the passion of talented gardeners.

It's amazing what can happen in two years. According to the eye test, Mill Hill Park was a safe haven back then.

In July 2022, Johnathan Gordon, a former project manager for TDA, wrote an OpEd calling McEady a “steward of downtown's public green spaces,” and everyone knows him by the quality of his work and the pride he took in it.

Well-maintained parks are important in any environment, although these landscapes provide interesting opportunities for city dwellers and opportunities to escape noise, cars, and other nuisances.

And parks? Well, they need passionate coaches like Derrick “D” McEady.

LA Parker is a Trentonian columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email him at [email protected].

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