By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – More than 200 volunteers took part in an ambitious cleanup of Heritage Park for the third year of what has become a true community effort. City officials said the April 16 effort included contributions from nearly 40 local sponsors – who provided more than $7,000 worth of supplies and volunteer gifts – on a picture-perfect seasonal day that included the Guidance Center’s Downriver Dash and a “Celebrate Spring” event at the petting farm.
Along with a general spruce-up of the park and grounds, volunteer groups focused primarily on four projects this year.
A group headed by members of the Taylor Recreation Commission spearheaded a debris detail that lined up on Pardee road and covered the acreage; the Coan Lake Historical Area was tackled by a crew headed by Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dobek, which included Fire Chief Stephen Portis and Deputy Chief Stan Pochron who steered a boat-load of volunteers through the dock and platform areas; grounds foreman Guido Ulin took a team around the Sheridan Center Pavilion to spread topsoil; and the Taylor School District’s Robotics Team worked the tree line with rakes and shovels.
The annual cleanup of Heritage Park was launched three years ago by resident Jim Taylor, who saw the damage done by a particularly harsh winter and initiated the idea with city cooperation. The spring cleaning – which included more than 250 volunteers that first year – sparked dozens of smaller-scale, all-volunteer restorations of public spaces.
“This has turned into a wonderful event,” Mayor Rick Sollars said. “The park is cleaner than it’s been in a number of years. Every single person who attended deserves credit for taking time to contribute to their community.”
Volunteers were treated to coffee and cookies in the morning, and a post-cleaning lunch supervised by “grill master” Thom Ouellette, manager of the Taylor Farmer’s Market which will open its 2016 season in June.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)