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.