Monday, March 19, 2012

The Greenville Park Needs Our Help

We've all known about the Greenville City Park's recent budget struggles and the ensuing "Carry in, carry out" program. With the warm weather and residents enjoying the park en mass for the first time, the need to be conscious of trash in the park is higher than ever. It's easy to look at the messes others have left behind in digust, but for some groups of residents, simply walking away from the problem empty handed isn't enough.

Last Wednesday, a group of 6 adults and 6 kids spent just one hour in the city park and managed to take away at least 6 bags of trash. When walking through the skate park, the kids who were there to skate even took a break and lent a hand in gathering up trash in the area. This effort wasn't done for praise or recognition, but simply to affect positive change on what should be one of our most attractive assets.

This small group collected this trash in just 1 hour (Photo courtesy The Coffee Pot's Facebook page).
This is just one example of a relatively small effort making a huge impact. However, the rest of us reading this shouldn't think, "Good! Someone is stepping up to clean the park!" but rather should think, "Great! How can I help?" Even if the park board were to find some way to pay for the dumpsters in the park again, I think it would be a form of denial to think the trash problem would be solved. The park has had it's share of "dumpers" for a long time: people who will dump heaps of trash (often from home) in the park, either in the cans when they were there, or now wherever there is room.

Take for example these photos submitted by Cherie Frost, a Darke Journal submitter who spotted these messes on Saturday around noon. 

Ewwww! Photos courtesy Cherie Frost
We clearly have a problem and need two things from the community: 1) people to step up and find ways to help keep the park clear of garbage and 2) changing our thinking where some individuals believe it's ok for this type of behavior in the first place. Our shared space is exactly that, to be shared among all of us and not to be used as the public dumping ground for a few. Let's take control of the situation, rather than looking for people to blame, and put our time and energy in a very simple, straight forward, easy to understand concept that will have a tremendous impact on our community.

Currently, there is a group of citizens who have come together to start a non-profit group, Friends of The Greenville City Park. They are currently working together to file the paperwork for non-profit status and they have met to brainstorm ideas and events to bring the City Park back to life. They are in the beginning stages, but please visit The Greenville City Park's Facebook page and "like" it to stay up-to-date on how you can get involved. They are very excited about the ideas and hope to have many of them in place for the 2012 season. They will post more information as soon as it is available - stay tuned!

Another group forming to help out is he "Gang of 100." You've seen the whole flash-mob meme played out on YouTube, right? A bunch of people show up in a public space and start meowing like cats or breakdancing.

Gang of 100 is like that, except that instead we show up en masse and accomplish really practical and measurable things like cleaning up trash, covering up graffiti and conquering big tasks in short bursts. Our goal is to apply 100 backs and heads and 200 hands to a task and knock it out in one or two hours. This is a community action group for those short on time.

Once we have gathered at least 100 volunteers for Gang of 100, we will hold our first meeting and set up a protocol for accomplishing important tasks around town and selecting our first job and date to accomplish it.

You can join the Gang of 100 simply by "liking" their page. To be clear, only join Gang of 100 if you have a couple of hours to spare every month and have a desire to be a part of the change you wish to see in the world. Click here to check out the Gang of 100's Facebook page. (Please don't "like" the page unless you're ready for the commitment, as the group is using the page as a roster for membership).

These groups contain some very bright individuals, all ready to make a real, positive impact on our parks and our city. Please give them a look and think about what you can do to help us keep the park clean.

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