Even on a Sunday with temperatures hovering just over 50 degrees, volunteers are hard at work improving the playground area in Longway Park. Local volunteers who include a city councilman, a local business owner, and several neighborhood residents, are all members of the Potter Longway Neighborhood Association which proudly participates in KGCB’s Adopt A Park program. Using funds from KGCB’s Lowe’s Community Improvement grant, playgrounds, benches and pavilions in parks throughout Flint are being painted, repaired and improved. If temperatures are too low for painting (50 degrees or lower) volunteers are still in the parks scraping, laying safety mulch, replacing wood on benches and bleachers, and whatever other tasks need to be done. Fall weather is unpredictable in Michigan, but what’s for certain is our volunteers are heating things up thanks to KAB and the Lowe’s Community Improvement program.
Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s volunteer activity is attracting even more volunteers. Each day as they continue their painting and improvements in Sarginson Park, the Adopt a Park sponsors from West Flint Community Watch are being approached by neighborhood residents who want to join in and help complete the process.
Mary Severn, who co-chairs the Sarginson Park adoption team, was approached today while buying coffee and donuts for the hard-working volunteers in the park. A gentleman in line behind her asked a few questions and decided he wanted to volunteer as well. Whenever there are even two or three people interested in heading over to do some painting, Mary is willing to get them started with supplies and little direction. Scraping and painting begin at Delaware and Longway parks on September 13-14. Here’s to the volunteer spirit!
The scraping and prepping is complete and painting has begun at Sarginson Park. Devin Shroeder from the Lowe’s store in Burton, Michigan stopped by to answer questions and encourage the volunteers from the West Flint Community Watch as they started the multi-day painting process. Just a week earlier, 18 community volunteers came out to finish scraping and prepping the park’s pavilion, benches, safety rails and playground equipment. This Saturday, the local Lowe’s team will conduct its second Scrape, Prep and Paint Training session at Mott Park where volunteers will spend the day applying what they learn.
The first Scrape, Prep and Paint Training by local Lowe’s employees took place in Sarginson Park. Volunteers learned how to prepare metal, wood and concrete for painting and staining. Volunteers were split into two groups to learn and have “hands on” experience in scraping old paint off of a city park pavilion, benches and concrete. Volunteer Adopt a Park representatives from 10 different City of Flint parks were on hand. The Lowe’s/KAB grant provided all of the materials that volunteers will use to prep and paint playground equipment, benches, pavilions and other similar items in their own local parks. The next step is for each park to provide their own Scrape and Prep date and start the improvement process in their own parks.
What a challenge! Painting playground equipment, pavilions, benches and other items that are sitting in City of Flint parks. Keep Genesee County Beautiful is working with 21 volunteer Adopt A Park sponsors to maintain city parks. This includes picking up litter and emptying trash cans. There are no basic city services being offered as the budgets have been curt again and again, while under an emergency manager. But our residents are not letting that deter them! One of the parks that will receive painting assistance through the KAB/Lowe’s grant is Sarginson Park. This weekend there will be a massive park cleanup to prepare for the Scrape, Prep and Paint Training on Wednesday, August 20. What a wonderful difference this grant will make in a park that is full of children playing during the summer.
The work begins…at the Lowe’s store. After a visit to the park, Devin from Lowe’s and Karen West, Director at Keep Genesee County Beautiful, met back at the store and began to order the supplies, including a special order of paint that bonds to playground equipment. We filled up a cart or two with supplies for the cleanup on Sunday afternoon and Devin will begin to put together the Scrape, Prep and Paint Kits for each participating park.
On February 13, 1945, Pfc. Manuel Perez, Jr., led fellow members of the United States 11th Airborne Infantry Division in an assault on an enemy strong point during the Philippines campaign. Perez succeeded in destroying a heavily defended pillbox, and for his actions that day he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest decoration our military can bestow upon a soldier. Tragically, Pfc. Perez was killed in action a month later, but his name and legacy live on in a small park in south Oklahoma City, near his 1923 birthplace.
Regretfully, Manuel Perez Park at SW 14th and Harvey has long been neglected. With the coordination efforts of local Keep America Beautiful affiliate, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and OKC Beautiful, 16 volunteers along with 9 staff and board members, participated in ridding Manuel Perez Park of litter, mulched around grand beautiful trees, and planted flowers around the monument lauding Pfc. Perez. Additionally, this crew gave the park benches and big toy a fresh coat of paint.
America’s leading beer brand, Bud Light in partnership with Keep America Beautiful (KAB), brought the volunteer project “Do Good. Have Fun.” to Oklahoma City. Lisa Synar, Executive Director of OKC Beautiful (OKCB) and Executive Director Jeanette Nance of Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) joined together and with the permission of Oklahoma City parks department, chose this neglected memorial as the project. Local area adults were recruited to register with Bud Light online to help, “Do Good. Have Fun.” The event was held this past Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 8:00am to Noon. Afterwards the group enjoyed lunch together with a little refreshment contributed by Bud Light.
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. Keep Oklahoma Beautiful is the statewide affiliate and OKC Beautiful is the local affiliate. These two work together to empower Oklahoma citizens to preserve and enhance natural beauty, ensure a healthy environment and to improve the image and appearance of the communities within which we live.
Helping in this small community just south of the beautiful Sky Bridge over I-40, meant so much to the families surrounding the park, several of whom came out to help. At the end of the day, “we did a good thing” said Lisa Synar, of OKCB. “To witness the teary eyed thank you of the small group that has worked so hard to save this small park was a blessing beyond measure,” said Jeanette Nance of KOB. During the clean up at the end of the project a woman, her child, and her mother drove slowly by, rolled down the car window and said to the group, “I grew up playing here, this is an amazing thing you have done, thank you so much!”
The volunteers descended upon the park amidst cheering from the Chicago Bulls’ Luvables, and were then brought in for a quick team huddle and warmup before the day’s work began. Volunteers worked in smaller groups — some worked together to rejuvenate and repair the basketball court; others worked on fixing up the running track; while the remaining volunteers worked on removing litter, pulling weeds from the tennis court, and cleaning up the area surrounding the park playground.
Volunteers worked long and hard to get the job done. One of the day’s biggest surprises was the appearance of Chicago Bulls legend Toni Kukoc and current Chicago Bulls small forward Jimmy Butler. Kukoc and Butler graciously took the time to shoot some hoops with the volunteers, play a little one-on-one as well as take pictures and sign autographs.
After the event, volunteers were then invited to Murphy’s Bleachers pub next to Wrigley Field to enjoy some food and Bud Light, as a reward for their hard work.