While attending their annual meeting, held in Indianapolis in late 2013, about 40 members of MPL's Environmental, Safety and Regulatory (ES&R) group wanted to perform a community-outreach project. Not just any task would do, however. ES&R employees wanted to attack the toughest, most challenging job they could find. “We wanted a project other volunteer groups had passed over; one that would enable us to clearly make a difference,” notes Stacy Hatton, ES&R administrative assistant.
After contacting the Indy Parks and Recreation Department, ES&R identified its challenge in the form of a run-down playground known as Indianola Park. “It was so overgrown that if you had driven by, you wouldn’t have known it was there,” notes Hatton.
The ES&R team immediately set to work, clearing the park and some of the surrounding area as well. “Over the course of about four hours, we trimmed trees, cleared brush, pulled weeds, picked up trash, raked the entire playground and spread new mulch,” says Hatton. “We cleaned and painted the playground equipment and picnic tables, too.”
Soon after cleanup began, ES&R received some unexpected help in the form of three young boys and a family with two young children. The boys said they hang out at the park all the time and jumped right in to help, becoming part of our team,” notes Hatton. “As for the young family, they frequently visit the park and were thrilled with the cleanup, repeatedly saying, ‘We can’t believe you’re doing this.’”
The response from the Indy Parks and Recreation Department was similar to that of the boys and family. “They were so pleased and couldn’t believe we’d accomplished so much in so little time,” says Hatton. “It was a lot of hard work, but worth every minute of it. It also was a really fun and rewarding day.”