Downriver residents clean up Heritage Park

Photo by Scott Brent Jim Taylor welcomes volunteers to the fifth annual Heritage Park Cleanup May 5.

Photo by Scott Brent
Jim Taylor welcomes volunteers to the fifth annual Heritage Park Cleanup May 5.

For the Sunday Times

TAYLOR – The community of Taylor was strengthened due to the efforts of several families who participated in the fifth annual Heritage Park Cleanup May 5.

Led by activist Jim Taylor, attendees were treated to a sunny stroll through lush grass with the opportunity to earn city-certified community service hours.

It began when Taylor noticed a bunch of trash in the tree lines while visiting the park on the weekends. He spent five weekends filling 13 bags of trash before another Taylor resident, Dave Gorgon, spotted him and decided to lend a hand. Taylor then went door-to-door across his subdivision, searching for volunteers and sponsors.

“What I realized is that communities can’t do everything, but people want to find ways to jump in,” Taylor said.

Each participant was given a trash grabber and a disposal bucket. Volunteers who missed their breakfast could rest easy, as they were provided donuts and coffee before taking out the trash. Taylor also encouraged local restaurants in the area to donate gift certificates as prizes for the event raffle.

“We will always have raccoons in our garbage, and be at the mercy of the wind, but when people come to events like this, they know they are going to pick up litter, not just litter,” Taylor said.

Throughout the years, the annual cleanup has gained attention from Scout groups to school clubs, such as the Truman High School National Honor Society and Robotics Club. Last year, approximately one-third of volunteers travelled from outside of Taylor to support their friends and families.

“With plenty of walking and biking trails, Heritage Park is a great family venue,” Taylor said. “Not to mention, the park hosts some of the best fireworks in Downriver.”

While volunteers enjoyed the exercise and fresh air, Taylor resident, Wanda Simpson would like to see improvements to the park’s maintenance.  “Ever since medical marijuana became more legalized, we need to do something about prohibiting smoking in the park,” Simpson said.

Additional event information for future cleanups can be found on the Heritage Park Cleanup Day Facebook page.

(Scott Brent can be reached at