JACKSON, Mich. — There are 28 parks and trails in the city of Jackson. There are only four full-time parks department staff members. So, if you want to see these parks stay clean, the city needs your help.
"I think a lot of residents in the city are mindful through the pandemic the city has been in an interesting financial situation where we know we're going to be losing a lot of tax revenue," Coordinator Aaron Dimick said. "We're still trying to figure out what that means for the city. So, I think a lot of residents are conscious of that and we have so many wonderful parks and trails in the city. It's more about finding a way to continue keeping them up and be mindful that there may be less for our city staff to there's less things that they can do to stay on top of those things.”
Dimick is working alongside Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Sargeant to form a group called 'People for the Parks and Trails of Jackson, Michigan.' The goal is to get the community involved.
“It would be fair to say that it helps out. Our parks staff takes great pride in taking care of the 28 city parks in the trail system and you know they're busy whether it be picking up garbage or putting out fires here and there or maintenance work or fixing things and so to have this group would be a tremendous help," Sargeant said.
The group is still in its early stages but so far, the community support has been largely positive.
"I think that it would make our parks more beautiful. If we're teaching them to care for it now they'll care for it in the future. Then everybody can come and enjoy the park instead of coming to the park, cleaning up and then enjoying it," Jackson resident Christa St. Germain said.
“Some people have raised the question of accusing the city of using free labor stuff like that but, it's just for people who want to give up their time and abilities to the city to support our parks and trails, Dimick said. "It's not like we'll be expecting people to show up Monday through Friday and volunteer eight hours a day it'll be more simple projects may be taken hour two hours at most just every couple weeks so it's really doing kind of the more light things that the city staff can’t always get to.”
Dimick says about 20 people have expressed their desire to volunteer. They plan on having a community meeting later this month with the goal of hitting the ground running in August.
“It would be mulching a playground like the King Center. Mulching Bloomfield, mulching any of our playgrounds that need it. We do that every other year whether it's picking up limbs, whether it's fixing up landscape areas, painting picnic tables, painting any barrels or the rose garden in Sharp Park, or cleaning up the putt putt... just small projects around the city parks that needed to be tended to," Sargeant said.
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