Commisioner of Public Property Jesica Voogd hands out work gloves during Forest Park's Community Cleanup on Saturday May 27, 2023 | Todd A. Bannor

Forest Park will be holding a fall community clean-up and a clothing swap next Saturday. 

While community clean-up is a village fixture, this will be the first clothing swap the village is organizing. Forest Parkers will be able to swap their old clothes for donated clothes, with the village already accepting donations. During a meeting this month, the village council linked the two events together, encouraging those who participate in the morning community clean-up to go to the clothing swap afterwards. The clothing swap will take place at the north end of the village-owned portion of the historic Altenheim property in the afternoon. 

The community clean-up will kick off at 9 a.m. and wrap up by noon. As before, volunteers will be assigned to one of the five zones within the village, and the village will supply pickers, gloves and garbage bags. Volunteers are welcome to bring their own supplies. Unlike during past clean-ups, volunteers won’t be starting at one location, Volunteers for the zones in the north half of the village will meet at Popelka Park, while the volunteers for the south zones will meet at the traditional starting point, Roos Recreation Center. Volunteers will still have the option of returning to Roos after finishing up to get treats.  

Public Works director Sal Stella laid out the ground rules – don’t walk onto private property, don’t pick up dangerous items such as glass shards and “natural items like leaves.” 

Community clean-up volunteers must register ahead of time using the link that’s currently on the front page of the village website. 

The clothing swap is being organized by Commissioner Maria Maxham and Rachell Engler, who was recently appointed interim village administrator. The goal is to give Forest Parkers a chance to refresh their wardrobe, socialize and, for attendees who are undergoing gender transition, a chance to get a wardrobe that better reflects their gender. The village is accepting new and gently used clothing donations that can be dropped off at the Village Hall, Mohr Community Center and Play it Again Sports store.  

“It’s the same day as the community clean-up, so we scheduled it to be in afternoon,” Maxham said during a village council meeting this month. “[Smokey Joel’s Red Hots] will be serving hot dogs, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet people in the community.” 

Last year’s clean-up was delayed multiple times due to rain, and what was originally supposed to be a spring event got shifted to the fall. While the clothing swap does have an indoor alternative – Mohr Community Center – there is no Plan B for the clean-up. 

“We just have to hope for good weather,” said Forest Park Recreation Board chair Amy Binns-Calvey. 

The community clean-up will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday Sept. 23, starting at Popelka Park, 501 Thomas Ave., or Roos Recreation Center, 7329 Harrison St. 

The clothing swap will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the north tip of the village-owned portion of the historic Altenheim property at 7824 Madison St.