Jackson parks get quick cleaning

Sunday, May 1, 2005

About 125 volunteers came out Saturday morning to spruce up Jackson parks during the city's annual cleanup.

"We work four or five hours and get a T-shirt and nasty hands," said Patsy Johnson, a retired Jackson teacher who participates every year.

But Johnson and the other volunteers get more out of the event than that. They also get the pride in the appearance of Jackson City Park, Litz Park and Brookside Park.

Parks department director Shane Anderson said most of the effort went toward picking up fallen limbs and beautifying the entrances and waterways of the city parks.

"Typically we don't have a lot of trash to pick up," he said.

Johnson said the city park employees do a good job keeping trash under control, and most people in Jackson who come to use the parks seem to take pride in them.

"When I drive through the park I pick up trash," Johnson said. "We have walkers, I see people walking, picking up. Parents at soccer and ball games are very good about picking up."

Organizations from Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to adult groups such as the Noon Optimists have parts of the parks that they keep tidy, Johnson said.

When people pick up fallen limbs or leaves, from the parks or from their own yard, Johnson said they take those to the city recycling center and have them ground into mulch, which goes back into the park around the flower beds and shrubbery.

It took only three hours Saturday to spruce up the already clean parks. Both Anderson and Jackson commented that this year the parks seemed to be cleaner than usual. The park department employees had mowed grass. Volunteers cleaned up the dead limbs, planted flowers and shrubs where possible, and raked up leaves and other debris. Then they enjoyed hot dogs and sodas, and were given a T-shirt for their efforts.

Neither could remember how long Jackson has been designating the last Saturday in April as park cleanup day. Anderson said Johnson has volunteered since the beginning.

"I've got at least eight or nine T-shirts, and I go every year," Johnson said. "It's been a long time."

lredeffer@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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