NEWS RELEASE FROM PEOPLE FOR THE PARKS AND TRAILS:
A new volunteer group in Jackson is looking for residents who want to make a difference in the city's parks. People for the Parks and Trails (abbreviated to PPT) was recently founded by two City of Jackson employees. The goal of PPT is to provide a volunteer group for the city's parks to do regular trash cleanups, landscaping, and light maintenance.
"We have the parks, and now we just need the people to power this program!" said Aaron Dimick, a Jackson resident and the city's Public Information Officer. Dimick and Andrew Sargeant, Assistant Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, created PPT earlier this summer after discussing the need for a resident-based group that supports parks and trails. "After riding my bike down the MLK Equality Trail and seeing lots of litter, I thought it would be great to get together with other Jackson residents to do work in parks that our staff don't always have time for," Dimick said.
The City of Jackson has 28 public parks and an expanding network of pedestrian trails. While improvements continue to maintain this high level of service and meet new community needs, the city is left with fewer financial resources and staff to support the parks system. "We have some groups we work with from local businesses and organizations who volunteer in parks, but we really need a regular support base to keep up with a variety of maintenance projects," Sargeant said.
Dimick, who is helping organize PPT as a resident outside of work time, says park and trail access is a big contributor to Jackson's quality of life. "I invite all City of Jackson residents to join People for the Parks! Coming together to uplift our parks will help maintain this excellent service, enhance quality of life for our neighbors, and cultivate lots of community pride," Dimick said.
Spreading mulch in playgrounds, painting picnic tables, maintaining gardens, and picking up trash are some projects residents can expect to help with. "We want to make sure the volunteer opportunities do not take up too much time and are not super strenuous," Sargeant said. "I am excited to work with People for the Parks to meet the needs of our department."
Organizers are planning an informational meeting for residents in late July, with work projects set to begin in Aug. The latest PPT updates will be posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Residents can also complete an online signup form through the city website by visiting cityofjackson.org/peopleforparks. PPT will use the signup to send out information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.
PPT organizers hope the group can grow into a non-profit that raises funds for park improvements and addresses park equity issues in the community. "There's a lot of great things PPT can do to help Jackson. For now, we're looking forward to connecting with residents and getting work started," Dimick said.