Park Partners offers new volunteer opportunities
Last week, the city of Bemidji welcomed its first "Park Partner" into the new program initiated by the city of Bemidji to get residents to take pride in their local parks. The Downtown Development Authority, consisting of more than 100 members, h...
Last week, the city of Bemidji welcomed its first "Park Partner" into the new program initiated by the city of Bemidji to get residents to take pride in their local parks. The Downtown Development Authority, consisting of more than 100 members, has become the first organization to officially join the program.
Park Partners, which the city is starting for the first time this spring, utilizes citizen volunteers to assist the Bemidji Parks and Recreation Department with maintenance of the city's parks, trails and open public spaces.
According to Parks and Recreation Superintendent Dan Haluptzok, the idea for Park Partners developed from recommendations from the America in Bloom crew who toured the city last summer and provided ideas on how to improve Bemidji's overall appearance.
"It all has to do with the tidiness and community involvement that we're trying to create in our city," said Linda Autrey of the DDA.
She noted that Bemidji received a rating of one out of five "blooms" in last summer's America in Bloom contest.
"I think the goal is to increase by one bloom each year," added Roxi Mann of the DDA.
Any individual or organization willing to volunteer at least once a month is welcome to become a Park Partner. However, volunteers younger than 18 must have adult supervision.
"We'll take all the volunteers we can get," Haluptzok said.
The main duties of Park Partner volunteers include picking up litter, weeding and landscaping, and vandalism reporting and removal. Volunteers are able to choose the park they want to work in as long as they commit to volunteering there on a regular basis for the duration of the park season.
Autrey said the DDA has volunteered to maintain the flower beds and planters located downtown.
"This fits into what the Park Partners program is trying to do with beautifying the city in municipal areas," she said. "We're hoping that other people will adopt their neighborhood park, the library area, trails, et cetera."
Haluptzok said he expects the Park Partners program will move into full force in late April after the Parks and Recreation staff have done the initial raking and cleaning to prepare for the busy summer months. He added that city staff will continue to do the mowing and major park maintenance, while Park Partners volunteers will help with the day-to-day upkeep.
"More than the actual physical clean-up, I think (Park Partners) is important because more people are going to take pride in what is going in the parks and the community," Haluptzok said.
Individuals or organizations who seek more information or who want to receive an application to become a Park Partner should call 759-3576, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the city of Bemidji Web site at ci.bemidji.mn.us.
All volunteers will be recognized by the city with a certificate of participation and be included in a published Park Partners list.