Category : Adopt-A-Park
The final park build of the 2017 season was arguably its largest in every conceivable way. With volunteers from Job Corps, Lowes Heroes of Burton, Freedom Work Opportunity of Genesee County, Life Challenge Ministry, Central Michigan University, Metro Flint Youth Build, Financial Plus Credit Union, and area neighbors, over three hundred people worked across two days to complete a revamping of Sarvis Park. Three hundred volunteers do not suddenly appear out of thin air though, and before so many organizations came together for the task, one man looked at his childhood neighborhood and decided that he wanted to restore it for future generations.
Jermaine Turner, Sarvis Park’s main adopter, has helped maintain the space for over four years, and about two years ago entered talks with Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s Karen West to install a playground. “We never have gotten that many people for one project,” said Turner. “I was really glad that people came out and supported us, because without the people this could never have happened. It’s been amazing.” It was important to Turner to install the playground, but just as important to the neighborhood he’s called home since 1990. “Sarvis Park means a lot to that neighborhood. It’s a home away from home.”
The old axiom of “great things have small beginnings” feels necessary to the story of Sarvis Park. It is a demonstration to the care that we can take for our communities and how we can approach preserving our nostalgic past and hopeful future. When we see part of our community falling into disarray, we can and should take steps to do something about it. And while the playground build season has wrapped up for 2017, there is always next year to Adopt-A-Park.
“Smile” is not the first would that you would associate with “tarps full of mulch,” but if you were at Hasselbring Park on August 15th, you would have seen how those words could fit together. At Hasselbring Park, Keep Genesee County Beautiful joined United Way of Genesee County, Make An Impact Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Miracle Midwest, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, AmeriCorps, Flint Genesee Job Corps., FOX66 News, Flint Area MI Chapter of The Links Incorporated NBC25 News, City of Flint, and City of Flint Master Plan, along with nearly one hundred volunteers to put in a new playground.
The effort was being carefully watched by children well before the playground was open. In what must have been seconds after the playground passed inspection and hours before the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s grand opening, children were already swinging across monkey bars and whipping down the spiraling orange slide.
A similar effort happened only a few days later on August 18th in Broome Park for another playground. And just like the playground before, children watched from the edges of the park waiting for the volunteers to finish hauling mulch and for the playground to open. This time the patience of the kids waiting around was impressive due to the rainy conditions. In some ways it is a testament to the power of playgrounds and the allure they hold for children. After all, for a child what place could possibly be better than a place specifically designed for play?
But this wasn’t just about smiling children; it was also about smiling volunteers who knew that they were contributing to a better community. The volunteers came from all walks of life and all sorts of organizations beyond Keep Genesee County Beautiful. All came together because we all share the common knowledge that one of the most valuable parts of childhood is the ability to not only play, but to have a place to play. It’s a value that can’t be calculated or quantified, except maybe by counting the smiles it creates. If you would like to help the next time we put in a new playground, contact us at 810-767-9696