By Judy Reed and Nancy Noreen
It was cause for celebration Saturday when residents gathered on Saturday, during the Cedar Springs Earth Day celebration, for a groundbreaking and tree planting ceremony at the new Veteran’s Memorial Park, at the corner of Oak and Main Streets in Cedar Springs.
“Being a veteran, this park has special meaning for me,” said Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson. “I hope that everyone who uses it will remember those that served even one day in the military.”
Watson noted that everything was donated for the park. Other than the property, the city didn’t spend any money on it. Instead, Dan Brown, uncle to Timothy Brown, who was killed in action in Iraq, was the driving force behind the park. Watson thanked him for finding sponsors for the park, and thanked all the volunteers for their generosity.
Watson, Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, Councilor Pat Capek, City manager Christine Burns, and sponsors Rob Rowland of Rowland Excavating and Rich Freiburger of Rapid Concrete turned the ceremonial first shovel of dirt with gold-painted shovels.
Burns announced that the push to get donations for the light poles in the park had been a success, and that there would now be five instead of only four.
Immediately following the groundbreaking, a small row of Cedar trees was planted along the east boundary of the new park. Brown, Rowland, Watson, Freiburger, Tim Brown Sr. and Nathan Brown were among those who helped place the trees in the ground.
Next on the Earth day schedule was the city cleanup. The volunteers who came to collect their t-shirts, trash bags and assigned work areas didn’t seem daunted by the weather. Some were sent to work on the White Pine Trail, others picked up trash along 17 Mile Road and out by the highway.
People also took advantage of the opportunity to recycle E-waste, shred documents, and buy seedlings at various stations around town that morning. “E-waste disposal was a much bigger hit than the hazardous waste disposal was last year,” said Burns. She said they would continue with the e-waste disposal as long as the vendor is available. She also noted that this year’s auction was also well attended.
At noon, volunteers gathered at the Legion for pizza and popcorn. During lunch there were recycling coloring books and posters for kids to color, a library book display, and the opportunity to make your own earth friendly toilet bowl cleaner and laundry sheets.
City Clerk Linda Branyan, with the help of Representative Tom Pierce and Mayor Charlie Watson, also took time during lunch to award prizes to the winners of the photography competition. (Watch for more on that next week.)