The Wills Group Transforms Neglected Park

The centerpiece of Phoenix Run Park is the new basketball courts with murals.

July 01, 2022

LA PLATA, Md.—The Wills Group, community officials and members of the Phoenix Park community have dedicated the reimagined Phoenix Run Park in La Plata, Maryland, according to a news release.

The Wills Group invested more than $130,000 to transform the park, supported by hundreds of volunteer hours across the Phoenix Park community and the Wills Group. Ruppert Landscaping, Federal Health, MJH Project and Rowe Signs also contributed to the park transformation.

Major contributions to the park design and enhancements were also made by Stella’s Girls, the Dorchester Community Alliance, the Neighborhood Design Center and Keep La Plata Beautiful.

The park revitalization, which took two years to complete, now includes vibrant, art-inspired basketball courts, walking paths, landscaping and seating areas that create a community destination for families.

“The Wills Group is proud to be part of a collective effort to create a community space that is vibrant and welcoming for children and families,” said Julian B. (Blackie) Wills, III, president and chief operating officer of the Wills Group. “This project represents our renewed commitment to reimagining outdoor spaces with and for our local communities and highlights what can happen when we work together to create what’s possible to strengthen our communities.”

Blackie Wills was joined at the dedication ceremony by Charles County Commissioner President Reuben Collins, La Plata Mayor Jeannine James, La Plata Town Council Member Evalyne Louise Bryant-Ward and La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner.

The centerpiece of Phoenix Run Park is the new basketball courts with murals created by La Plata artist and founder of Three Ring Studio, Donald Ely, who worked with the Wills Group, community members and partners to envision a renewed and vibrant space. The bright and vivid artwork celebrates the phoenix, symbolizing the re-emergence of positive energy and possibilities in the Phoenix Run community.

“My sincerest hope for this project is that it continues to bring ongoing happiness to this community,” said the mural artist Donald Ely. “The mural design represents a renewed phoenix that rises up and celebrates the community.”

“The dedication ceremony marked the culmination of an amazing two-year journey with Dorchester Community Center, Stella’s Girls, Neighborhood Design Center, and the Wills Group,” said Kaprece James, founder and CEO of Stella’s Girls. “We made a concerted effort to listen to the Phoenix Run community through focus groups and roundtables.”

Phoenix Run Park is part of the Wills Group’s ongoing commitment to community engagement and the inaugural project for its renewed approach to Reimagining Outdoor Spaces. As part of this effort, the Wills Group collaborates with organizations and communities to envision and bring to life reimagined community spaces inspired by the Wills Group’s commitment to reimagining Dash In store locations.