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Queens lawmaker resumes park cleanup program to beautify public spaces this spring

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Assembly member Andrew Hevesi comes out to assist in park cleanup effort. (Photo courtesy of Hevesi’s office).

Volunteers are ready to get back to work after Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi resumed the Parks Cleanup Series, cleaning various open spaces throughout Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, Middle Village and Glendale. 

The program kicked off this year with a cleanup in March at MacDonald Park in Forest Hills and Annadale playground in Rego Park a couple of weeks ago. There was also a beautification effort in partnership with Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, as well as the NYPD’s 102nd Precinct and 112th Precinct Crime Prevention Unit on April 10. 

Another cleanup at MacDonald Park was scheduled for Sunday, April 24.

“With so many partners coming out last year, we were really excited to get this underway again,” Hevesi said. “We’ve been joined by neighbors, community leaders with tons of experience running events, students volunteering for service hours, and younger children and families volunteering for their first time.”

The 50-plus volunteers have already removed hundreds of pounds of waste from communities across Queens. Lawmakers plan to bring daffodils to the upcoming cleanups, as well as increase general maintenance in the neighborhood.

Volunteers clean MacDonald Park in Forest Hills March 27. (Photo courtesy of Hevesi’s office.)

“It’s important to consistently clean, care for and maintain our parks,” Schulman said. “Thank you to Assembly member Andrew Hevesi for his continuous collaboration with my office to keep our green spaces clean and safe for everyone in District 29.”

The program was created by Hevesi, Congresswoman Grace Meng, state Senators Joseph Addabbo and Toby Stavisky, Queens Community Board 6 and others to help restore parks after the devastation brought on by Hurricane Ida.

“It was really comforting to a lot of people knowing their neighbors had their back,” Hevesi added. “So many people in these communities are invested in keeping our neighborhoods beautiful. We wanted to make sure everyone continued to have an opportunity to do so.”

Last year’s events took place at Mafera Park in Ridgewood, Austin-Ehrenreich Playground, Yellowstone Park, MacDonald Park in Forest Hills and Painter’s Playground in Rego Park.

In October, about 30 people helped plant daffodil bulbs and clean up trash in Mafera Park located at 65th Place and Shaler Avenue. The nonprofit New Yorkers for Parks donated 1,200 bulbs as part of its Daffodil Project to remember the victims of 9/11. Hevesi also helped clean up along with NYC Parks Department, which donated gardening supplies. 

After the volunteer effort at Mafera Park in the fall, elected officials announced that $500,000 in state funds would be allocated to the local park for needed renovations.

Upcoming cleanup events are scheduled throughout April and May and will be posted on social media accounts. Students are eligible to claim school credit for their volunteer efforts. 

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