UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, the Village of Forest Park decided to move the clean-up to the rain date of Sept. 24 due to the forecast likelihood of rain on Sept. 11. The event start time and location will still be the same. Anyone interested in volunteering can still register for a new date, or cancel their registration if the new date doesn’t work for them.

The Forest Park community clean-up, which was originally scheduled for April 24, is finally getting underway this fall, one day after Rib Fest. 

The clean-up will take place on Sept. 11, starting at the Roos Recreation Center, 7329 Harrison St., at 9 a.m. From there, the volunteers will fan out to one of the five zones in the mostly residential portions of Forest Park, returning to the Roos around noon.

The village will supply pickers and gloves, but volunteers are welcome to bring their own supplies. 

The volunteers are asked to register ahead of time using the link on the village website, so the village can get a sense of how many people would be working in each area and how many supplies they would need. 

The original spring 2022 community clean-up was originally pushed back to April 30 because of the rainy weather, but the weather didn’t cooperate on the fallback date either. The Recreation Board, which organizes community clean-ups, discussed rescheduling in May, but quorum issues at that meeting and the June meeting pushed the discussion to the July 21 meeting.

At that point, board members decided it would be best to have the clean-up in the fall. They settled on the Sept. 11 date because they didn’t want to conflict with Ribfest and because they felt that the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks would be “a nice day for public service.”

When volunteers register, they are asked to pick one of the five zones or indicate that they don’t have a preference. Zone 4 includes the portion of the village north of Madison Street; Zone 2 includes the area west of Desplaines Avenue, as well as the section between Harrison Street, Desplaines Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Beloit Avenue; Zone 3 includes the area between Madison Street, Harlem Avenue, Harrison Street and Desplaines Avenue; and Zone 1 spans the area between Harrison Street, Harlem Avenue, 16th Street and Hannah Avenue.

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, but younger teens and kids can participate if accompanied by an adult. 

Commissioner of Public Property Jessica Voogd told the Review all volunteers will get trash bags, and “the park district will have a large water cooler on hand should folks need to fill up their reusable water bottles.”

Voogd said volunteers are invited to return to Roos “around noon-ish” for a group photo and “a little thank-you treat.”

“I don’t know for certain what the treat will be just yet, but we encourage folks to register ahead of time, so we have an accurate head count. We want to make sure everyone gets a treat,” she said.

To register for the community clean-up, go to www.forestpark.net/dfp/events/forest-park-community-clean-up