Park clean-up prepares for holiday festivities

Community members gathered on Saturday to beautify the All-America Park downtown.

Community members came out on Nov. 16 to clean up the All-America Park in anticipation of the city’s Christmas celebration on Dec. 7, which will include a Christmas tree lighting.

“Today was another step forward in making our community better by getting community to work together,” said City Councilor Kenneth Roberts, who organized the clean-up. “I just saw a need to get the park cleaned up and to make it the best it could be for the city Christmas tree.”

Members of the Cottage Grove Garden Club and others cleared the park of debris, weeded gardens, planted flowers and removed a tree to improve visibility from the street.

The Dec. 7 celebration and holiday festivities will include light displays, scavenger hunts, refreshments and shopping specials from businesses downtown as well as other attractions throughout the city.

A list of businesses that will be open, discounts offered and planned activities will be published in the Cookies & Carols section of The Sentinel.

Beautifying the downtown area is part and parcel of Roberts’ goal to energize the historic district and bring in more visitors.

“We have a very unique, beautiful downtown,” he said. “As someone who has traveled a lot … I’ve seen a lot of towns and this town is very special. And I’m just trying to show people how special it is — hopefully they get on board with it.”

Roberts is communicating with downtown businesses to plant Christmas ornaments in the city’s flower pots and decorate buildings and trees with lights. The councilor is planning to recruit volunteers to meet for the decoration project on Sept. 30 at noon in All-America Park.

“I would like to see us all get together as a community, and as a way of giving a gift, give back to our businesses downtown for everything they do for us in the year,” he said.

A resident of downtown himself, Roberts is also behind the city’s annual Downtown Clean-up and this year was recognized with the Enhancing Urban Places and Spaces Award by the Vision Keepers.

“I do what I do because I love my community and I want to see it shine,” he said. “I want people to come here and see our town and take a bit of it home with them.”

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