Community pride

Hundreds participate in Patriot Project, parks cleanup

Southwest Covenant students and parents build a rock embankment at one of the Yukon parks last week as part of the annual Patriot Project. (Photo courtesy Mitzi Aylor of Aylor Photograhy)

By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – More than 900 people turned out last week to for some hard work and good fun at Yukon’s park last week.

The Patriot Project conducted its 12th annual work day organized by students from Southwest Covenant Schools. The team of students raised $6,500 in supplies for painting, construction projects, and maintenance projects at four parks.

President of the Patriot Project Committee Jennifer Fillipone said 434 students joined city staff, parents, and school officials for a total of 925 people.

“The Pre-K class usually plants bulbs, and there is some pretty heavy work we do with the older students. We improved drainage at Taylor Park and pulled up the edging where they will be putting in concrete,” she said.

The J. Calvin Baseball Field at Taylor Park will soon see the installation of concrete sidewalks. Students filled in cracks in the tennis court, finished painting the cornhole game court, fixed soil drainage problems, and tackled just about any job within their budget and ability.

Fillipone said the project teaches students the value of giving back to the community.

“It’s a service project for our students so they understand how to make a difference in the community, how to be part of their community,” she said.

The project has gained attention from other schools out of state.

“It’s been an example for other schools who want to do the same kinds of things in their city, from Washington, Texas, a lot of places out of state,” Fillipone said.
Parks and Recreation Director Jan Scott said the project goes a long way to beautify the parks.

“They planted crepe myrtles, daffodils, installed trash can cages, cleaned out flower beds. We have six or seven full time park people, so you can imagine how much more work 900 people can do. Our teams do more maintenance things, so this goes a long way to beautify the park,” Scott said.

In addition to the $6,500 raised by students for Friends of the Park, the city received a grant for $2,500 from Lowe’s.

“Lowe’s talked to their suppliers and got the rest of the supplies we needed donated over that amount of $2,500,” Fillipone said.

Scott said the funds were used to purchase paint, sod, concrete, gravel, and basic construction materials to name a few. The parks and recreation department work with the Patriot Project Committee to identify various needs in the parks.

“They have really good ideas,” Scott said of the committee. “We go through the parks and have the parks maintenance guys give us suggestions. We go through the park and find projects. There’s always something to do in the park. Chisholm Trail, Freedom Trail Playground and City Park is 100 acres.”

Scott expressed her appreciation to everyone who lent a hand.

“It’s a great project. They’re nice workers and they’re very giving. We are so thankful to be partners with Southwest Covenant Schools and Lowe’s,” she said.