Forest Parkers are invited to make their village shine at the annual Forest Park Community Cleanup event scheduled for Sunday, April 24 starting at 9 a.m.

The second annual get-together is being put on collaboratively by the village, park district, public works department and the village’s park and recreation board, and is open to Forest Parkers of all ages, although those under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Commissioner Jessica Voogd is one of the organizers of the effort and said that last year’s inaugural event proved there’s interest in sprucing up the village with a warm, sunny spring, hopefully, just around the corner.

“When folks see other folks taking care of their community, it encourages others to do the same, and so I just think it’s a great opportunity to sort of help out and also to show people that we care about Forest Park,” Voogd said.

Around 30 people volunteered for the first official cleanup in 2021, although unofficial cleanups organized by various community members have long been part of the fabric of Forest Park, something Voogd acknowledged in talking about this year’s event.

“Forest Park is lucky to have a lot of very engaged citizens so there’s some different groups of people that sort of take it upon themselves to get together and clean up from time-to-time,” she said.

This time, on Sunday the 24th, volunteers will meet behind the park district’s Roos Recreation Center at 7329 Harrison St. and pick a predetermined zone to target for cleanup. The public works department will provide long-handled pickers, gloves and bags to those who need them, and the cleanup crews will disperse around town.

When the work is done, probably sometime between noon and 1 p.m., volunteers are asked to come back to the Roos to turn in their gear and enjoy a tasty frozen treat donated by The Brown Cow ice cream parlor.

In addition to serving as a tool to bring community members closer together, the cleanup also has a practical impact on the public works department, which Voogd said spends an inordinate amount of time picking up litter around town. 

“We all have a responsibility to help do our part and dispose of litter properly, but not everyone does,” Voogd said. “There’s been a lot in the last year showing up and we don’t have a huge [public works] department, and a lot of their time has had to go to cleaning up litter in a lot of well-trafficked corridors in town.”

Organizers are strongly recommending volunteers preregister, something that can be done by visiting the village’s website, forestpark.net, clicking on the cleanup event on the village calendar, and scanning the QR code on the flyer.

The event is somewhat weather dependent, so a rain makeup date of April 30 has been scheduled in case of inclement weather.

Voogd and village officials have another earth-friendly event scheduled this month as well, with the village’s annual tree planting for Arbor Day tentatively scheduled for April 29 near Garfield Elementary School. More details on that event will be released at a later date.