More than 30 volunteers — composed of community leaders, city Parks Department employees, and students from pre-K through high school — helped to clean up MacDonald Park in Forest Hills on Sunday, March 27.
The event was organized by Friends of MacDonald Park with Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, the Forest Hills Green Team and Partnerships for Parks providing supplies and logistical support.
Additional partners included Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, Queens Community Board 6, the Forest Hills Asian Association, Color of Justice and the Women’s Action Group of Forest Hills.
MacDonald Park, centrally located in Forest Hills on Queens Boulevard, is home to the community’s Sunday Greenmarket and dozens of events, the next being the 112th Precinct Street Fair taking place on Sunday, April 3.
“The Forest Hills Green Team from our inception four years ago knows how important it is to partner with other organizations to make a difference. This is one of many examples of when the community comes together, we can do so much more,” said Mark Laster, co-chair of the Forest Hills Green Team.
Color of Justice’s mission is to show how civic engagement elevates everyone, said Tania Padgett, an executive board member of the organization.
“MacDonald Park is a tremendous asset to our community. We were more than happy to partner with Assembly member Hevesi and others to keep this Forest Hills gem sparkling,” Padgett said.
The volunteers conducted a routine check of the park’s boundaries for litter and volunteers raked accumulated underbrush, removed loose sticks and branches and swept main pathways frequented by pedestrians and parkgoers. In total, volunteers collected and safely disposed of more than 30 bags of refuse, which included hundreds of pounds of sticks and underbrush.
Hevesi’s office and local partners are organizing a number of similar events to take place throughout the spring, with a follow-up maintenance checking of MacDonald Park tentatively scheduled for later in April.
“It’s so encouraging to see the outpouring of support from the community. Steve Melnick and his group have been incredible, keeping our park at the forefront of priorities for both neighbors and city agencies. With its location literally in the heart of Forest Hills, you can’t measure how far these efforts reverberate throughout our communities,” Hevesi said.
Schulman said she looks forward to holding similar events to keep their communities and neighborhoods thriving and blooming for everyone.
Kaleena Ma, president of the Forest Hills Asian Association, said it’s important to give back to the community and that the cleanup initiative is a great way to bring together the community.
“We enjoy working with the other local Forest Hills groups to do something meaningful,” Ma said.
Edwin Wong, former president of the FHAA Association and a CB 6 member, said the organization always welcomes the opportunity to increase awareness and participation and collaborate with community partners for park cleanups.
“Bringing community together is much needed, and what better way than an outdoor activity to benefit our parks? Hopefully, this will encourage others to help keep the park clean for all to enjoy,” Wong said.