Memorial Park looks better today, thanks to about a dozen volunteers who spent a few hours Sunday cleaning it up, spreading mulch around swing sets and getting rid of trash, including bags of drug paraphernalia, city police and volunteers said.
"It was not a lot of drug paraphernalia, but you're going to have this in public parks," City Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said Monday after he and others swept through the park with gloves, bags, rakes and pitchforks in hand.
City Councilman Randall J. Allison was among those taking part and confirmed some drug materials were scooped up. They consisted of smaller bags drugs are put in, according to Foresman. No hypodermic needles were found, Foresman said. Gloves were used by the volunteers to protect their hands from plants and cuts.
One individual told the Sun-Gazette some of the material scooped up and disposed of showed evidence of crystal meth use in the park.
Among the more pleasant activities, however, was the volunteers taking two large piles of mulch and spreading it around the swings.
"We dug in with pitchforks," Allison said. "It's the kind of thing that shows we care about our community and we encourage people to get involved like that and not wait for someone else. Kind of reminded me when my kids were in Little League and we'd fix up the field there and get the park ready."
Besides Memorial, other parks on the list for cleanup include Newberry, Shaw Place and Young's Woods. The next is at 2 p.m. May 20 at Brandon Park.
"It makes me realize what a great parks system we have in the city," Allison said. "It's a good experience to get out there."
"A lot of good was done," said Justin Simpson, city recreation director, who organized the effort.
At least six large bags were filled with trash.
"We even found a whole coconut," Simpson said.