Under unseasonably warm bright sunny skies, nearly 100 volunteers joined us at Jefferson Square Park and Sacks Playground on Saturday to help “keep up the sweep up.”
Volunteers helped bag roughly 50 bags of trash, recycling and weeds collected from the park and playground. Discarded tires and an old television set were collected for proper disposal. With the generous support of Urban Jungle, the neglected tree pits on the 400 block of Washington Avenue were freed of weeds and given a thick application of mulch. Bandit signs—a persistent problem in the city—were removed from light poles surrounding the site.
Demonstrating tremendous school and community spirit, Nebinger Elementary School student volunteers, staff and parents attended the cleanup in droves. Joining the students was Lindback Award winning principal and ardent community supporter Dr. Ralph Burnley. After a morning of cleaning and greening the students were treated to a healthy Whole Foods Market provided lunch of wraps and oranges while taking in a Bobcats Baseball game. The students ended their day with an enthusiastic round of trivia for which winners took home prizes of how-to grow kits, seeds and potted plants.
Tending largely to the needs of the park were the Friends of Jefferson Square Park. The Friends mobilize at the park routinely and play critical role in keeping it safe and maintained year round. Led by Michael Toklish the group is proud a recipient of a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society(PHS) Green Machine grant. The PHS mobile gardening unit and staff joined the Friends and greenlimbs volunteers on Saturday to assist with preparations for new greening efforts in the parks plant beds. In an act of true sustainability, the roses removed from the corner beds were transplanted to Dickinson Square Park.
Participating again this year was First District Councilman Mark Squilla. Since taking office, the Councilman has demonstrated an interest in the site. He and Queen Village Neighbors Association Jeff Hornstein recognize what an asset the park and playground are to the neighborhood and have pledged their continued support.
The number of enthusiastic residents who turned out to pitch in on Saturday was truly inspiring. Knowing our site was just one of 350 throughout the city shows just how dedicated our non-profit organizations, leaders and residents are to creating and maintaining safe, clean, green spaces. We look forward to building on this momentum throughout the year.