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Service Day: Volunteers Clean Up Community Garden
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Mitchell MacDonald and Sophie Eisman pulled weeds at the Community Garden while other volunteers picked up trash on Monday, Jan. 18 as part of a community clean up in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

It was cold and wet, windy and dismal but the weather didn’t dissuade a handful of people from participating in the first — and hopefully annual — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of community service on Monday, Jan. 18 at the Oakdale Community Garden and adjoining hiking trail on the north side of the city.

Coordinator Lisa Eisman organized the day of service in recognition of celebrated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Billed as a “day of working together to restore a community asset,” the volunteers set out to remove trash, take down graffiti, and weed the overgrown foliage creating an eyesore at the garden.

Eisman said, “I’m into community building and we’re trying to build community.”

The clean up was part of the Adopt-A-Park program sponsored by the City of Oakdale. Public Works provided clean up supplies, such as rakes, gloves, and trash bags, while the volunteers provided the elbow grease.

“There are many parks that need to be adopted here in the city,” Eisman said. “Many hands make for light work.”

Brea DeRespini, Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Oakdale, said, “This is so great. Lisa really spearheaded this clean up and it’s great to see someone so motivated.”

Anyone wishing to adopt a city park can do so by contacting DeRespini for details.

Eisman continued, saying, “We’d really like to make Martin Luther King Day (clean up) an ongoing event.”

Eisman added that some of the homeless who populated the river area recently moved to the community garden after they were displaced by the goats currently being used to clean up the river bottom area.

In spite of the weather, Eisman was heartened by the turnout.

“We have a great group of people willing to be out in this weather,” she said. “And I know if the weather had been better we would’ve had even more.”

For more information on how to adopt a city park, call DeRespini at 845-3591.