Description & History
The concept of the GWJrCC began more than twenty years ago in response to a pressing need for positive change in the community. In the late 1970s the site that is now the George Walker Jr. Park was an elementary school, Public School (?P.S.?) 76. However in the early 1980s a fire destroyed the building.
For years, the school remained abandoned and became not only an eyesore to the community but a haven for illegal activities. In the mid to late 1980s at the height of the Crack-Cocaine epidemic, prostitution, drug activity, and violent crimes were common occurrences in and around the abandoned school.
In response to this serious problem, George Walker Jr., a retired machinist and police officer, and several community members formed the Wyona Block Association. The organization instituted a street patrol to combat the illegal activities at the abandoned school and to work with the City of New York (?City?) to find a useful purpose for the site.
Often referred to as the unofficial mayor of Wyona Street, Mr. Walker carrying a walking cane and wearing a three-piece suit, along with his signature cowboy hat, would religiously walk throughout the abandoned school's littered and drug invested school heard and handball courts to investigate if he heard gunshots or became aware of any illegal activity.
An active member of Brooklyn's Community Board Number 5, the 75th Precinct Community Council, and the Veteran's Police Association, Mr. Walker received numerous awards for his tireless service to East New York and Cypress Hills.
Unfortunately, due to health complications, Mr. Walker passed away on June 28, 1992, community members, with the assistance of Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, formed the Community Coalition to Restructure P.S. 76, Inc. (?76 Coalition?) to continue to advocate for the creation find a useful purpose for the site.
In 1996, after nearly ten years of hard work and perseverance by the 76 Coalition and the support of then New York City Councilmember Martin Malave Dilan (now State Senator Dilan), the City demolished the abandoned building and in 2001, completed construction of a community park.
On July 21, 2004, in honor of Mr. Walker's contribution to the community in general, and the site of the park, in particular, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation renamed the park The George Walker Jr. Park.
In the Spring of 2008, Carolyn Walker-Diallo, George Walker Jr.'s daughter, and Salema Davis, former 76 President Adrienne Davis' revived the organization, which had been dormant for years.
The organization was renamed The George Walker Jr. Community Coalition, Inc. to express its affiliation with the park and to continue in Mr. Walker's footsteps - to "be the change we want to see in the world." Today, thanks to the dedication, perseverance, hard work and commitment of community leaders, the George Walker Jr. Park is an oasis of calm and brings beautification to East New York and Cypress Hills.
As friends of the park, GWJrCC believes that active and consistent programming at the park will foster an environment of collective work and responsibility, respect for the community, its members and the local environment.
GWJrCC firmly believes in the universal truth that "You Reap What you Sow." As such, GWJrCC sows loving, compassionate, caring and positive seeds in East New York and Cypress Hills.
So, come plant with us and watch the seeds of knowledge grow!