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Recreation department, association to upgrade park

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with the Clayton State University School of Business Alumni Association to improve a Jonesboro park.

Approximately 20 volunteers from the alumni association will beautify and restore Independence Park, located at 8970 Thomas Road, during the "Community Clean-up Day" event, according to Lindsey DeLong, marketing and sales specialist for the county's parks and recreation department. It's scheduled for Saturday, July 24, from 8 a.m., until noon.

According to DeLong, the clean-up will coincide with the nationally-recognized "July is Parks and Recreation Month" celebration.

"This is our first event together," said DeLong. She said, through this event, the parks and recreation department and the School of Business Alumni Association, will help the local community by contributing enhancements to the park.

The 40-acre park includes two picnic areas, 452 square feet of picnic pavilions, various grills, a walking trail and a baseball and softball field, according to DeLong. She said, although employees of the department maintain and clean the park, there are areas that need improvement.

"It [the event] really came at a great time, because some of the maintenance and upkeep at Independence Park ... is needed right now," she said.

The department will guide alumni association volunteers through the clean-up event, and provide them with the materials needed for the improvement projects, DeLong said. Volunteers will establish a plant bed at the park's main entrance, sand the surface of the entrance gate, replace old trash can units with new ones, paint bleachers near the softball area and re-paint picnic tables near the pavilion area, among other improvements, according to DeLong.

The "Community Clean-up Day" event was an idea that the School of Business Alumni Association brought to the department, which it accepted, DeLong said.

Michelle Reape, a board member of the Clayton State School of Business Alumni Association, said that during a board meeting in March, the association decided to provide assistance where it was needed in the county. Reape said she suggested that the association contact the parks and recreation department to find out if it needed assistance.

"Instantly, I thought of Parks and Recreation, because you have children that go and play there after school, and everyday, kids are doing different activities," said Reape.

Reape, who is spearheading the effort, said the association hopes to conduct the event quarterly, or annually.

"Overall, it [the event] is just going to emphasize to the community that we care about their concerns, and want to increase the park system as much as possible," added DeLong.