Adopt-a-park programs, which offer volunteers a way to take an active role in the beautification and maintenance of their community parks, are gaining nationwide popularity.
With the large amount of visitors coming to Hilliard, litter prevention and beautification are necessary. Hilliard has a successful program in place, with the goal of getting every park space adopted throughout the city.
Hilliard's adopt-a-park program is designed for businesses, groups (including youth) or individuals to assist with basic year-round mulching, weeding, small-scale gardening, painting and other activities.
BMW Financial Services has adopted the biggest park, which is the Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park at 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive. This has become a significant part of BMW's community-involvement program.
Covering 127.88 acres, the park is used heavily. It is the location of the community and senior centers and is home to many amenities, such as sports fields, fishing ponds, shelter houses and an aquatics center.
BMW Financial Services adopted the park in April 2015 and has continued to show dedication to their employees' community involvement and commitment to making a difference.
BMW Volunteers dedicate more than 1,000 volunteer hours, from April to October, to clean and beautify the park. Trash pickup throughout the park contributes to protecting the restored Clover Groff Run within its boundaries.
Although the city's largest park is adopted, more volunteers are needed. Hilliard has 26 parks that are included in the program and 15 are adopted.
If you or someone you know is interested in adopting a park, the first step is completing a one-page volunteer application and committing to one year of service. This information is on the city's website, hilliardohio.gov.
In addition, the business or group must visit the assigned park a minimum of four times per year. Upon application approval and being assigned a park, the city will arrange a project-planning meeting.
The city also will provide tools needed to take care of the park. These items include trash bags, gloves and/or rakes and brooms. Groups also might be recognized on social media or by signs at the park location.
Hayley Bush, a Hilliard recreation supervisor, said, "The city's adopt-a-park program is a perfect opportunity to become active in the community and to help keep Hilliard clean and green for everyone to enjoy."
For questions on the adopt-a-park program, contact the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department at 614-876-5200.
Kristen Hosni is a member of the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission.