DAYTON — Phillip Neumann is building community in Dayton’s South Park neighborhood one volleyball net and water gun fight at a time.
Neumann was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by neighbor Kevin Litten.
“This past year was tough, but Mr. Phillip helped make it bearable for our wonderful neighborhood,” Litten said. “He’s just taken it upon himself to make the neighborhood better, especially for kids.’
Neumann organizes activities for kids and families such as Nerf wars, movie night in the park, visits with Santa and Easter egg hunts, water slides and water gun fights.
“Life is tough, man. Whether you’re young or old, there’s challenges. I just like having fun,” Neumann said.
Neumann’s efforts recently have been focused on working with other neighbors to increase and improve amenities at Blommel Park.
They put up volleyball nets, and built a ball corral and filled it with sports equipment.
“He made what was already a pretty good park into an awesome park,” Litten said.
Other neighbors have joined in, adding a badminton net and soccer goals.
Neumann said other neighborhoods in and around Dayton can do the same thing.
“It’s completely replicable. It just takes one person being willing to spearhead that stuff,” he said. “You’ll find people that are of like mind and willing to collaborate.”
Litten said Neumann also goes out of his way to make sure new residents, especially immigrant families, feel welcome. This is what makes South Park not just a neighborhood, but a community.
“That’s all I’m shooting for,” Neumann said. “Just trying to make it more fun.”
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