Austin parks get spruced

Published 1:49 pm Friday, September 12, 2008

A “massive maintenance project” is coming to Austin Saturday, Sept. 27.

That’s how Mike Ruzek, project leader for Spruce Up Austin, Inc. described the efforts of volunteers.

According to Ruzek, Cory Goetz, youth pastor at Cornerstone Assembly of God Church, has recruited 48 youths and 12 adults from the congregation to participate in Cornerstone’s annual “Earth Beat” community betterment efforts.

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Ruzek and Goetz have planned the day’s activities.

The volunteers will assemble at Cornerstone church located in the Sterling Shopping Center, beginning at 8 a.m. Sept. 27. At 8:30 a.m., they will receive instructions and embark on the day’s activities.

Six teams captained by SUA, Inc. directors will lead the volunteers.

“Because of the number of volunteers, they will cover virtually all the city parks,” Ruzek told SUA, Inc., directors at their meeting Thursday morning.

The volunteers will apply tiles around the youngest trees in public parks and other areas, apply new mulch to trees, prune “suckers” from trees and collect trash in the public areas.

Ruzek said the volunteers are reminded to wear gloves and hard shoes and bring five-gallon buckets, grain shovels or pitch forks and yard waste garbage bags.

According to Ruzek, the Sept. 27 effort will be the largest of its kind in the 18-year-history of the organization.

How serious? The team captains are directed to review in detail the volunteers’ work.

The depth and diameter of the mulch around trees is important, he said.

Piles of mulch will be placed at strategic locations to minimize the need for traveling long distances with the mulch in wheel barrows or gator vehicles.

“We will mulch trees as best we can that have been planted as recently as five years ago or, to be put another way, we will mulch as many trees as need a tile,” he said.

Tiles are going to be placed around young trees to protect their trunks from mowing accidents.

Because of the “massive” maintenance project, a tree planting in honor of Dennis L. Maschka at the Riverland Community College athletic complex will be rescheduled.

Also at Thursday’s Town Center meeting, SUA, Inc. directors learned one of their own, Bonnie Mogen, will receive the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement award.

Mogen, one of SUA, Inc.’s longest serving directors will be honored Oct. 8 at a noon luncheon to be held at the Austin Eagles Club.

Mogen’s accomplishments fill a lengthy list. They include being a part of the first Christmas in the City celebration, helping organize the Downtown Family Fun Day and promoting the weekly in-season Farmers Market activities each Thursday afternoon.

The owner of Bonnie’s Hallmark and Gift Store has been a downtown presence for decades along North Main Street.

SUA, Inc. will be selling one-of-a-kind hand-made bracelets at the upcoming 2008 RE-Fest celebration of green living and clean energy scheduled Saturday, Sept. 20, at Riverland Community College.

Sara Nelson fashioned 1,000 original bracelets. No two are the same.

They will be sold for $3 each or two for $5 at RE-Fest.

Proceeds from the bracelet sale will be used to purchase and plant trees in the city.

Also Thursday, SUA, Inc. directors agreed to purchase a gift certificate for a tree from Dolan’s Nursery and Trimscape.

The gift certificate will be donated to the 2008 Thanksgiving Feaste fundraiser for the J.C. Hormel Nature Center.

In other action, the directors agreed to hold their annual Fall potluck summer Wednesday, Sept. 24, beginning 5:30 p.m. at Veterans Pavilion in Austin Community Bandshell Park.

Two members, Kathy Borland, treasurer, and Dick Dixon, director, will be honored upon reaching milestones in the organization.

A nominating committee of Mike Ruzek, chair, and members Howard Nepp, Kelly Lady and at-large representative Jerry Adwell will begin work immediate to find a candidate to replace Dennis L. Maschka, former president who died unexpectedly this summer.

Trees will be planted along East Side Lake this Fall in honor of Harold and Lydia Lein, who died and left a generous gift to SUA, Inc.

The Lein names will be added to the Tree Registry maintained in a kiosk at Horace Austin Park along North Main Street near downtown Austin.