Sharing talents to help community

Parks get some TLC

National Honor Society members Abigail Downing, 18, left, and Mariah Nuzzi, 17, both Howland High School seniors, paint a pavilion's ceiling Saturday in Bolindale-Deforest Area Park. A group of eight NHS seniors gathered to paint the pavilion for the society's Make A Difference Day project. Downing said the pavilion needed repainted because of graffiti.

It was cold and rainy Saturday, but that did not stop dozens of volunteers from beautifying area parks for Make A Difference Day.

Warren Neighborhood Initiative and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership teamed up to kick off a major renovation project at Quinby Park on the southwest side of Warren. D’Andre Bowers, chairman and executive director of Warren Neighborhood Initiative, said about 15 volunteers from WNI, TNP and the Western Reserve Builders Association braved the bad weather to prepare the shelter house for demolition.

He said the estimated cost of the project is $50,000 and will include renovation of the men’s and women’s restrooms and the kitchen, as well as installation of new playground equipment.

“We just finished a Neighborhood Pride project on the southeast side and we wanted to do another project on the outskirts, so we chose the southwest side. Quinby Park already was on our radar, so we decided to use Make A Difference Day to kick off the project,” Bowers said.

“When people think of a park, they think of a pavilion to have picnics and parties and a playground for kids to play. That is not available at Quinby Park. The shelter house has been closed for 10 years and there are only two operable swings at the playground. We want to redo this park and bring it up to the same standards seen at Perkins Park or Packard Park,” Bowers said of the 10-acre park.

Community Concerned Citizens II has a shepherding agreement with the city that allows the neighborhood group to maintain Quinby Park and some members have done some work already.

Bowers said the park renovation is being done with donations and private funding and all work is being done by volunteers. He said WNI could use more money and volunteers to reach its goal of having the park finished by spring.

In Howland, the Howland Rotary Club and Howland High School Interact Club members spent Saturday removing staples at the Rotary’s pavilion at Howland Township Park. This is the first year Rotary participated in Make A Difference Day, and its members knew exactly how they wanted to make a difference in the community.

The club’s community service chairman, Ken Abell, said the Rotarians often use the park for picnics and meetings and the members noticed the tables needed a paint job.

Initially, Abell said, the plan was to remove all the staples and then pressure-wash and sand everything Saturday before returning today to paint. However, the cold temperatures and rain changed the club’s proposed idea.

He said the tables and pavilion get a lot of use throughout the year and people often staple tablecloths to the tables and ceiling, leaving the staples behind. He said there were more than 1,000 staples in the tables, and the club members worried that the protruding metal could cut or harm someone.

Rotary Club President Robert Sincich said the plan is still to refurbish the tables and pavilion for future community use and members will return to finish the job.

Abell said the club has planned to paint the pavilion for a while.

“We want to help the township and people who use the park,” he said.

Howland Interact Club member Julia Sammartino, 16, a junior, said the park is often overlooked in the community, so she wanted to help make it a better place for people who have gatherings there.

Marilyn Titus, an eight-year Rotarian, said, “It’s always good to do a community project with fellow Rotarians and the Interact Club. We couldn’t do a lot of our projects without Interact. And it can benefit many people.”

Around the same time on the other side of the township, eight members of the Howland High School National Honor Society were repainting a pavilion in Bolindale-Deforest Area Park.

Senior Taylor Hopkins said all the materials were donated by the park commissioners, who manage the Howland Park District — including Bolindale, Morgandale Playground, Howland Township Park as well as the Howland Trustees Wildlife Preserve and the Mosquito Creek Boardwalk Trail — and the seniors provided the manual labor.

Park commissioners, she said, requested the pavilion ceiling be repainted blue, covering the old, used green one. Though the weather was dreary, the NHS members agreed the pavilion was in desperate need of a paint job.

“I think it’s a really nice park, but people don’t know it’s here or to look for it,” Hopkins said.

She said there are plans to remodel other parts of the park, so she’s happy to assist with refurbishing one of the pavilions.

“It should be really nice. It was just in need of some love,” she said.

Abigail Downing, 18, said one of the major reasons the park commissioners want the pavilion repainted is because of the amount of graffiti.

Volunteers from For the Love of Bikes organization picked up trash and debris at Perkins Park, including the Riverwalk and Summit Street bridge areas.

Amy Heckman, event coordinator, said 11 volunteers, including some of her family members,  collected seven large trash bags of debris.

”Last year we did this. It is a very used park and there seems to always be some trash on the side of the roads so we wanted to be here to help clean it up,” Heckman said.

Approximately 30 volunteers from Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and Warren G. Harding High School Delphi Elite Robotics Team collected 58 bags and two truckloads of trash along the railroad tracks and bike path near Woodland Avenue in Warren.

“We do something different every year, we wanted to highlight this area because there are some nice things that people don’t know about, We wanted to highlight the park, and bring some recognition to it. It’s for public use; there are BMX jumping hills, there’s fix-it station for bikes and the bike path is nearby. We just want to push ahead and make this better for our community,” said Denise Rising, community outreach coordinator for TNP.

“A major part of the robotics team is giving back to the community. We do Adopt-A-Highway. We’re out here to help the Warren community. That’s why I bring the kids; they’re full of energy and ready to help. We cleaned up the bike path and the railroad tracks. So far we have filled up an entire pick-up truck with trash and dumped it,” said Eugene Mach, a business teacher at Harding.

“It helps Warren out and makes it a better place. It helps the community, and it helps the world become a better place,” said Zachary Hilliard of Warren.

“We really appreciate having young people helping out in the community. We cleaned up the bike path so people can enjoy it more. Every day is make-a-difference day,” said Warren Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward, a bicycling enthusiast.

Volunteers from North-Mar Church cleaned the restrooms at Perkins Park and Packard Park and Councilwoman Danielle Polivka, D-5th Ward, organized a cleanup at Circle Park on Central Parkway.