Cheesman Park gets a spring cleaning

Volunteers help with cleanup, maintenance tasks in Cheesman Park

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Clouds of dust rose from piles of mulch as more than 30 volunteers, easily distinguishable by their bright green shirts, shoveled them into wheelbarrows around Cheesman Park, where they also did other maintenance tasks for Denver Parks and Recreation.

Throughout the day on April 8, volunteers spread 24 yards of mulch, painted curbs throughout the park, raked playground mulch and picked up 160 gallons of trash.

Sherry Richardson, a volunteer who lives nearby, said she wanted to help with the cleanup because Cheesman, at 1599 E. Eighth Ave., is her local park.

“Since I live right here and I could walk … it’s perfect,” said Richardson, who enjoys volunteering in her free time.

A little over half of the volunteers were local workers from Bimbo Bakeries USA, the parent company for Oroweat Bread. The company is organizing park cleanups around the nation as part of a marketing campaign for its bread. A local office for Janus Henderson, a financial investment firm, also brought employees out for a volunteer day.

David Westall with Janus said his company does a volunteer project every year. Cheesman Park is close to its office, so it was an ideal opportunity to get out into the community.

Organizers from BBU also reached out to Spark the Change, a company that pulls together lists of volunteer opportunities around the state and emails them to subscribers. That’s how Mike Bustos and Richardson joined the Cheesman cleanup.

Lawrence Luevano, a field supervisor with Denver Parks and Recreation, was on hand during the day handing out supplies and helping volunteers with projects.

Working with volunteers saves the city a lot of money and allows it to get projects done that park rangers wouldn’t be able to complete quickly by themselves, Luevano said.

A park like Cheesman has hundreds of trees. To mulch the whole park, for instance, would probably take a team of volunteers about a month of working every day, he said.

Even trash pickup is time-consuming. Rangers are unable to go through the whole park for small pieces of trash, Luevano said.

“We have staff that come out first thing in the morning and try to get the big stuff up,” he said. “But they can’t actually cover the whole park cause it would take up probably the whole day and they wouldn’t do their other duties out there.”

A group of volunteers can cover a lot more ground, he said. And “that helps out a lot.”

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