By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Volunteers from the Lincoln Park Cleanup Crew braved the heat July 26 to spread Lions Club-supplied mulch around the handicap-accessible playground at Lions Park, near LeBlanc Street and River Drive.
Community volunteer Joyce Murray, 35, of Lincoln Park, connects residents willing to help spruce up local parks with volunteer opportunities through the Lincoln Park Cleanup Crew Facebook page.
She and her husband, Daniel, 41, along with Ken Finkel, 41, and Paul Forfa, 51, were sweaty and dusty last Sunday afternoon as they shoveled mulch from wheelbarrows and distributed it around the playscape, under bright blue skies, with temperatures in the low 90s.
Joyce Murray encourages residents to volunteer for at least an hour of their time to help beautify the city. She anticipates the volunteers will work the last weekend in July to finish spreading the mulch.
“The mulch is to prevent weeds from sprouting up, and to prevent injuries, so that way the kids have a softer area to land on,” she said.
Murray said the existing mulch had become hard and compacted, which is why a new layer of mulch was needed.
“Last night the park was pretty crowded, and we had some dads that were just here watching their kids, that picked up some shovels and started helping, so that was pretty cool,” she said. “And we had some kids today that normally play here at the park, and they just pitched in and started helping.”
Murray said group volunteer times will be posted on the Lincoln Park Cleanup Crew Facebook page, but residents can stop by the park any time with their own tools if they have time to help spread the mulch.
“Bring a wheelbarrow, and do what you can,” she said. “There’s a big pile left over there.”
Daniel Murray said the volunteers are just trying to make the park an enjoyable community space in which to spend time.
“It’s all for the kids,” he said. “I am very kid-oriented, so to have parks in the city that kids can enjoy makes it worth it, and getting the parks clean is the major objective.”
Murray said that as the Lions Club members age, they can’t maintain the park as readily as they once did, which is why other volunteers are needed.
“I just like to get involved with the city, to make it a place that I would want to call home myself,” he said. “With us doing this, it makes me feel that way.”
Additional volunteers include Constance Adamcheski, Tracy Duprey, Mike Giffen, Patty Duncan, Tamara Rubino, Lindsey Snoes, Connie Parkinson and others, including parents who simply showed up at the playscape with their children, then pitched in to help while their children played.