Johnston City to name playground after fallen teacher - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Johnston City to name playground after fallen teacher

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JOHNSTON CITY, Ill. -- Johnston City leaders plan to bring an old park back to life, with a new name in honor of a well-known community member.

The Johnston City police chief and city leaders have been working to enhance the playground near the Johnston City Community Center Scout Cabin, which the city just spent thousands of dollars renovating. Now, a member from the community is also jumping in to raise money, while honoring his late son.

"I heard the city was going to build a new playground up here, and I thought I could help them and they could help the memory of Mike," said Jimmy Dean, of Johnston City.

Dean is the father of Mike Dean, a well-known Sesser-Valier High School teacher from Johnston City who was killed in a car crash in 2006. 

"Mike was on the park board in Johnston City before he was hired as a school teacher," Dean said.

Dean approached leaders in Johnston City about raising money to help support the park project.

"I thought we could give back and keep Mike's legacy going at the same time," Dean said.

At Monday's city council meeting, the city agreed to name the new playground after the fallen teacher.

"Mike Dean, which was a fine young man that got taken from us way too early," said Johnston City Mayor Jim Mitchell.

Dean's goal is to raise between $15-$20 thousand dollars, or more, and he already had some donations come in.

"There's definitely a need for this community for a park, again as you can look out here, this used to be the number one park in Johnston City and now there's very little due to storms and other reasons," Dean said.

He hopes the money raised will restore the park and bring more families together. 

"I just want people to come and be able to relax and play and bring their grandkids like we hope to do," Dean said.

And he hopes to honor his son's legacy while they're at it.

"Mike touched a lot of lives and again we found that out, and we just want to be able to give back," Dean said.

If you're interested in donating, you're encouraged to reach out to Mike Dean or Johnston City leaders. The number for the Johnston City office is (618) 983-5223.

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