The Weequahic Park Association (WPA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community corporation founded in 1992 by a group of local long distance runners. In 1995, it became the first Park Conservancy in New Jersey to enter a Partnership Agreement with Essex County.
Mission: The WPA’s goal is to exemplify to the fullest extent possible, the ideals that Frederick Law Olmsted, set forth when he defined the meaning and purpose of parks as centers that should provide a beautiful respite from the stress of daily life, by maintaining, preserving and restoring Weequahic Park and Weequahic Lake.
The Partnership with Essex County enabled WPA to direct the management of Weequahic Park, an Olmsted Park, implement capital improvements, and serve as stewards of the park. Comprised of more than 100 members, the WPA has a goal of restoring Weequahic Park to be one of the finest parks in the country. The WPA continues to sponsor educational, recreational and cultural events that give life to the park and raise awareness of the park as a great community asset.
In a world where great and serious intentions must often bow to the harsh realities that face them, the Weequahic Park Association (WPA) points with pride to all that it has been able to accomplish in its effort to revitalize historic Weequahic Park.
These achievements, such as the construction of a 2.2 miles long running track made from 100% post consumer product (recycled tires & sneakers) and urethane binding layer made of rubber granules; the improvement of the lake shoreline, using biodegradable coir coconut fiber rolls, storm quality water improvements. Over the past years, the Weequahic Park Association has developed an extensive proposal for the restoration of Weequahic Park.
Not resting on accomplishments, the WPA became increasingly involved in the environmental aspects of park improvement, focusing on Weequahic Lake, with a long range plan to dredge the lake of sediment that has settled for many years.
Beautification began, one small section at a time, and before long, community residents joined in, proving the point that the ecology and preservation of this open space is a place of great pride to so many. The WPA's environmental concerns have led to working in conjunction with environmental agencies and activist groups who care about our earth, and mankind's survival.
The WPA has also hosted successful social services programs, music, arts and other cultural events, education, and recreational programs, festivals, fireworks in the park, and other activities. WPA has institutionalized a road race in the park, initiated the planting of long absent flowers and replacement of dying trees, spurred the installation of a new exercise trail and the renovation of two children's playground-a project which the WPA spent three years advocating.
The organization's plans for the park encompass a wide-ranging agenda, that in the near future will place Weequahic Park, our park, at the top of the list of best urban parks in America.
The WPA, prior to the covid-19 pandemic, had been holding weekly Saturday morning meetings consistently for over twenty years. The Weequahic Park Association invites everyone within or outside of the community to become involved with our effort to restore Weequahic Park.
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Wilbur J. McNeil, President-Emeritus Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds
Jewel Mack, Trustee-Emeritus
Dr. Kevin Holder
Wilbur J. McNeil, the President Emeritus of the Weequahic Park Association (WPA) has been active on many fronts to protect and improve the historic designed landscape. A lifelong Newark resident, Mr. McNeil and the Association have actively encouraged a dialogue between park visitors and administrators. This has enabled many visitors and community members, including religious groups, social service agencies and schools, to become involved in efforts to improve the park and has raised attendance for programming.
Mr. McNeil has organized volunteer training for many of these groups so that they may take part in onsite work projects. He has tirelessly protected the environmental integrity of the park by reaching out to nearby neighbors as well as the Port Authority of New Jersey and Newark International Airport regarding pollution from their facilities.
Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, the Executive Director, since 2018, joined the Weequahic Park Association (WPA) as a member in 2006. She has advocated on preservation, environmental, sustainability, health, economic, recreational, and other issues of concern to the community. She works closely with the Board ofTrustees, and members to assure the effectiveness and long-term success of the Weequahic Park Association, and the preservation of Weequahic Park. She is also an appointed Commissioner of the City of Newark Environmental Commission.
In addition, she collaborates with members, partners, and various stakeholders, to develop the Association's objectives, and form strategic solutions to the challenges associated with carrying out the Association's mission. Victor Hinds and the WPA have also partnered with the office of the Essex County Director, Newark City Council Members, schools, local officials, labor leaders, non-profits, grassroots organizers, college students, faith-based organizations, etc. in order to inform, and educate the public. Born in Haiti, she has worked with Bread for the World in Washington, D.C., Maryknoll in South America, as a Consultant with the United Nations Population Fund in Egypt, in addition to various organizations and businesses. She holds a B.A. in Economics/Management & Administration and a M.S. degree in International Relations.
Achan S. Bey, was the leader of the Park Ambassadors program, which involves neighborhood students in leadership.
Sam Cherrington, is a member of an association to fight hunger and emergency preparation and response in Maplewood, NJ.
Kevin D. Holder, M.D., is the Director of the Center for Preventative Medicine in South Orange, NJ. Dr. Holder is one of the most well known holistic pediatricians in the Tri-state area. He is a co-founder of the Wholistic Physicians of NY/NJ, a Board certified physician in Internal Medicine, and Board eligible in Pediatrics. Dr. Holder graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry, where he did a double residency in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine.
Dr. Holder is deeply rooted in neighboring communities, especially in the educational sector. He is the founder of Successful Encounters, Inc., and served as the Medical Director at the Adolescent Health Center and the Infant Toddler Center at Barringer High School in Newark, NJ.
Dr. Holder has always set high expectations, not only for himself, but for his patients as well. He is a firm believer in making his patients aware of themselves as well as their responsibility to be accountable for their own health care. He institutes this in his practice, which he opened in 1989, just five short years after graduating from medical school and within months of finishing his 4 year residency. Dr. Holder brings a wealth of knowledge to the medical field, but most importantly to his patients.
Beverly Hunter, is a long-time member and Assistant of the WPA, who has provided many years of service to the community.
Yvette Jordan, is a high school History teacher in Newark Public Schools and an Activist for environmental and social justice.
She is a sought-after public speaker on the effects of environmental justice on urban centers and has a keen interest in educating her community on the importance of advocating for safe water. Jordan was born and raised in New York City and worked in local government for over 20 years as well as the NYC Mayor’s Office for Children and Families as Policy Analyst; her area of expertise was youth services for the Dinkins Administration. Her activism in Newark began as a founding member of Newark Education Workers Caucus (NEW Caucus), a group of educators committed to fighting for social justice issues within education for all educators, students and their families. Since the lead water crisis in Newark, she has been a fierce advocate for environmental justice.
BOARD MEMBERS & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR