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.
It was a cold and rainy 37 degrees on Nov. 11 when the final touches were completed at the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant-supported baseball field in Hardenbrook Park. The press conference and thank you’s started at 11:30 a.m. with managers from the Flint Township and Burton Lowe’s store on hand as well as a half dozen alumni from the park’s sponsor, the Flint Northern Class of 1974. We watched as the final layer of ball diamond meal was worked into the ground. The bleachers, players’ benches and trash receptacles were in place, and repairs on the backstop had been completed. Now that most of the leaves had dropped, we could clearly see the 450-foot fence line that was the result of the labor of Lowe’s Heroes and Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s community volunteers in September.
The talk quickly turned to planning a ribbon cutting event in the spring at the first baseball game. This generated talk of future baseball tournaments, kick ball games and tee ball games. And, of course, the alumni group added that this means there should be a party and a cook out and other reasons to gather the surrounding community together to celebrate. After the media had left and the bulldozer continued to finish the job, the rain turned into snow, reminding us all that we had the whole winter to plan for the spring kickoff and the renewal of another City of Flint park!
-View a YouTube video of images taken during the Hardenbrook Park cleanup and park improvement project.
-Watch local news coverage of the event on ABC12
-Read local news coverage of the event at the Flint Journal
It was a beautiful but cold start for the Lowe’s Project at Hardenbrook Park on Sept. 14. A brisk 38 degrees had all of the volunteers ready for a work warm-up. By 10 am there were 30 volunteers with nine Lowe’s Heroes volunteers among them, including store managers Dan Karpinski (with eight volunteers from the Flint Township store) and Brian Siemienkiewicz (with his daughter, from the Burton store). The remaining volunteers included Cub scouts from Saint James Episcopal Church with their parents, Flint Northern Class of 1974 alumni (who sponsor this park) and staff from Keep Genesee County Beautiful.
Over the course of three hours the volunteers cleared out 450 feet of fence line on the south side of the park. In some places they had to clean out over 12 feet of brush to get to the fence. Chain saws, brush hogs, weed whippers and rakes were used to accomplish the task in record time. And, of course, the park sponsors provided lunch including hot dogs, catfish and French fries (fried on site), homemade baked beans, coleslaw, spaghetti, drinks and deep-fried biscuits with jelly for dessert. Incredible! Then we had to go back to work after that meal! In total, we filled 90 yard waste bags with brush, twigs and limbs, five large trailers full of larger limbs and branches, 15 garbage bags, and as assortment of old fencing and other metal objects, bicycle tires and cement.
The contract has been signed for the new baseball field, backstop repair and fencing repairs at the park entrance. The new park sign and five new wooden picnic tables have been installed. We expect that work will begin on the baseball field in about three to four weeks.
Hear more about Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s baseball field project on ABC News12.
The excitement is growing as we begin the countdown for a new baseball field via our KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement grant. Two years ago, this park was nothing but waist high grass where no one could play. The Flint Northern Class of 1974 alumni decided to adopt the park that was in their neighborhood when they were children. The grass was mowed, the playground and basketball courts were painted and they started to hold community events and programs for children at this inner city park.
This year, this volunteer group became Park Tenders with Keep Genesee County Beautiful. Then we received additional funding through the Lowe’s grant and the plan moved forward. This grant will pay for a new baseball field (including bleachers, player benches, waste receptacles and bases), repair the backstop and basketball court and replace the fence at the park entrance. On Sept. 14, volunteers from Lowe’s and Park Tenders will work side by side to remove overgrown brush and invasive trees from the fence line, creating a “see-through” park, making it safer for everyone.