Hilltop community celebrates NNO and the reopening of Burroughs Park

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
The South Central Hilltop Block Watch hosted its 17th annual National Night Out Neighborhood Festival on Aug. 13. Although the event took place during the day – and more than a week after the national movement is typically held – organizers say they felt fortunate that it was able to come to pass this year. “Our celebration is held at Burroughs Park and the area was still undergoing its massive makeover on Aug. 2,” said Lisa Boggs. “We were worried that it would have to be canceled outright but the timing could not have been better because we were able to host our celebration of the event that brings people together in conjunction with celebrating the reopening of the park that also brings people together.” Doing their part to “bring people together” are Chovie and James Gentzel, animal and human ambassadors from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Shown here getting to touch this spunky African Black-Footed Penguin are westside residents Andrea Douglass and her daughter, Olivia, 1. Gentzel, a programs specialist at the zoo, said their mobile unit also brought an armadillo, an anteater, a marine toad, a screech owl, and a boa constrictor. He said they often bring more animals to the event than they showcase because some “get fussy” and don’t want to engage with the public. Clearly, Chovie had no issues with getting attention from an adoring crowd.
With the assistance of his mother Megan, Saleem Ali, 1, enjoys playing on the new seesaw with Nyla Rippey, 4. The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department set aside $375,000 to make improvements to the playground structures, walking paths, picnic areas, and landscape.
Children play on the new playground at Burroughs Park.
Perrin Shepherd, an outreach educator with the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), does an experiment using liquid nitrogen.

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