Without Tom Watkins it is hard to imagine what Springfield would be like. Our neighborhood is home to the Burlington-Northern-San-Francisco rail line. The earliest residents of the neighborhood built houses here to live close to the railyards where they worked. Without those workers, there’d be no railyard. And without the railyard, there would be no Springfield. Springfield was raised with the lumber that came in off the train.
Tom Watkins neighborhood didn’t always have a name. We became an official neighborhood organization because our neighbors wanted to build something special in our neighborhood. They named our neighborhood after one of our greatest assets, Tom Watkins Park. The park’s namesake, Tom Watkins himself, was a banker in Greene County during the Great Depression. He aided farmers and small-business owners during the most dire economic circumstances to ever face Springfieldians. Tom Watkins the man was not just resilient in the face of adversity, he was also beloved for his kindness. In his eulogy at his funeral, the speaker said “He had a twinkle in his eye as he approached you. He had a tender heart for all who were having a hard time.”
Our neighbors who live and work in Tom Watkins neighborhood are mirrors of our rich history. Like the railroad that built our city and is always pulsing with energy, we are brimming with children who will build a new future for our city. Like our beloved park, the gardens in our yards and art on our front porches make our neighborhood beautiful. Like our namesake, we are creating new ways to help our neighbors in need. Tom Watkins himself would be proud that our neighborhood will be home to Eden Village 3, an artfully planned community to provide permanent housing for our unsheltered neighbors.
If you are building a family here, have creative ideas about making our neighborhood more beautiful, or want to find ways to serve your neighbors, the Tom Watkins Neighborhood Association invites you to join us. There are no qualifications to attend – if you have a stake in our neighborhood you have a spot in our meetings. We’d also like you to consider joining the board of the neighborhood association. We are looking for a team of four individuals who are passionate about making our neighborhood a better place to live, work and play.
If you have questions about the neighborhood or are interested in becoming a board member, please contact Colby Wallace, at 316-832-8253, or firstname.lastname@example.org.