Park Renewal Day Returns on Saturday November 3rd

From a press release for the event…

Make a Difference at the 5th Annual Park Renewal Day

Register Your Team Now to Compete for $1,000 Grand Prize

September 2012 – On Saturday, November 3rd, volunteers will return to Dearborn Park to root out invasive plants for the 5th annual Park Renewal Day competition. Each year, this event has over 150 participants – all competing for prize money sponsored by Renewal Design-Build – clear more than an acre of English ivy and Chinese privet from the park. The event is organized by Renewal Design-Build, DeKalb County Parks, the City of Decatur’s Active Living division, and Park Pride. View video of past Park Renewal Day competitions here.

Teams will compete for the grand prize of $1,000, while second and third place teams will take home $500 and $300, respectively. Each team’s assigned plot will be scored by local experts and County park officials. A live band, food, and the awarding of prizes follow the competition.

Any group willing to help the park and raise money is eligible to compete. In past years, teams have included school organizations, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, and Scout troops. Last year’s grand prize went to Boy Scouts Troop 18. The winnings funded scholarships for boys who could not afford the Troop’s annual dues, uniforms, camps, and equipment. The Decatur High School Super Close Up Club used their second place winnings toward travel grants for their annual spring trip to Washington D.C.

Interested groups should register as soon as possible; the event is limited to ten teams. For more photos and registration information, visit

Disclosure: Renewal is a DM sponsor

5 thoughts on “Park Renewal Day Returns on Saturday November 3rd”

  1. I strongly encourage any organization or group to get involved in this competition. The DHS Close Up club is planning to participate again, not only to win money for student travel grants to Washington, D.C. but also because it is a lot of fun. The competition is great but the work you do will really make a difference, creating a better park and building an esprit de corp within your group. A big shout out to Renewal Construction for their support of this great event.

    1. Yes. The activity is fun and brings teams closer. First Price $1,000 is a great motivator. However, maybe the sponsors can come up with another promotional event that is less destructive to the environment, and leaves residents around the park with an post apocalyptic mess.

  2. This is a great event, and the trees planted last year are doing great, but something causes concern. At least once in the early part of the summer, there was a massive application of herbicide along the trail leading back from the picnic area by the water toward the steps leading to the houses at the bottom of Candler Drive. It was a dead zone, trees, ivy, underbrush all devastated. It’s still that way a bit. It’s one thing to clear away non-natives by hand, but using herbicide on that scale is dangerous for children and deadly for the wildlife in the runoff area, especially the frogs and salamanders that spawn in the stream. Does anyone know anything about this?

  3. This normally is a fantastic event. I have personally participated in 3 of the last 4 years, however, this year’s event will be literally 10′ from 25 homes. In the past vegetation was removed in areas inside the park or nearby wooded areas. The area on Deerwood this year will strip the vegetation and the 25 homes along here will have a view of two 3′ tall manholes, a sewer pipe and and the creek. Not good for home values. The neighbors have made request to the sponsors of the event to move it elsewhere in the park, and as of yet, to no avail.

    There is still debris from each of the last 3 years in the park so we also fear an additional nightmare. In addition, there will be 200 people yelling and screaming directly across the street. This isn’t down the block, but literally across the street.

    As of now there is no plan for emergency vehicles and we have several elderly residents, who at a moment’s notice would need emergency care.
    We want the event to be held, just in a different section of the park. and not in our front yards.

  4. Park Renewal Day is a travesty. The event is just a publicity stunt for Renewal Design Build and their cosponsors City of Decatur, Park Pride, and Toolbank. For the DeKalb County Natural Resources Management Office this event is just a cheap and lazy way to control the vegetation in the park.

    Descending hundred something teenagers and college kids fueled by the prospect of winning some of the $1,800 price money hardly proved to be a sound method to extract invasive species. Even five years later the sites that were subject to the “Park Renewal” look more like a post-apolcalyptic movie set. What was once lush green with vegetation, what was once the habitat to tortoises, silver owls, and blue herons exposes now bare dirt, fallen trees, and old tires.

    Neither of these parties have any concern about the devastating environmental impact and the hardship on the residents that this invasive act causes.

    The tragic legacy of the past four “Park Renewals” has remained mostly unnoticed as their sites are remote from the main area. Only few follow the trails into the woods. 2012 will be a different chapter: the destruction will be in clear sight.

    Residents of Deerwood Dr, the 2012 target of the “Park Renewal”, have expressed their concerns and opposition to Dave Butler (Greenspace Environment Manager, DeKalb Co. Natural Resources Management Office), Peter Michealson (CEO, Renewal Design Build) and the so called “Beautification Committee” of the Midwaywoods Neighborhood Association. The concerns about safety, environmental impact, and destruction of the beautiful natural landscape have been ignored, or tried to be silenced by delay tactics.

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