Volunteers clear tree, storm debris from Farmington park

A group of Farmington residents cleared storm debris and a fallen tree from Shiawassee Park Saturday afternoon, with some unexpected help.

Mayor Sara Bowman said she saw the damage from Wednesday’s storm while on the last leg of a Saturday morning run with friends. She had spent the days prior communicating with city staff and state lawmakers about clean-up across the community.

“I had no idea how trashed the east side of the park was,” Bowman said. “There was a giant tree completely blocking the path. My heart sank, because that’s the end of the 5k Color Run route.”

Farmington Shiawassee Park tree clearing group

The run kicks off Saturday’s activities during the Greater Farmington Founders Festival, which starts July 15. Bowman knew city crews had other priorities, so she posted a call for volunteers on social media.

‘People at their finest’

“I would have been happy if five people had showed up,” she said. “The response blew me away.”

Twenty residents appeared on Sunday afternoon with rakes and gloves. Bowman’s husband, John, brought a power saw, but no one else had power tools.

When neighbor Scott Carter spotted the activity and heard what was happening, he left and returned with a small tractor and flatbed trailer.

Not long after, another passerby stopped to ask whether the crew had a chainsaw big enough to use on the tree. He offered help, saying he was a resident and just wanted the park to look nice.

The chainsaw made short work of the tree. But that wasn’t the end of Bowman’s conversation with the owner of Belt’s Tree Service. When she texted another thank you, he volunteered to help residents who are physically or financially unable to get large tree debris to the curb for disposal.

“That’s what this whole week has been,” Bowman said, “people at their finest, above and beyond what I could have dreamed.”

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