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Volunteers clean up overgrown playground: ‘If you love this city, try to help’

PETERSBURG, Va. -- In the midst of Petersburg’s dire financial crisis, a group of volunteers are making their city a better place by sprucing up overgrown parks and playgrounds.

Clinton-Jefferson Playground

Clinton-Jefferson Playground

Lemar Johnson decided that complaining about the high grass at Clinton and Jefferson Street Playground wouldn't solve the issue, so he turned to social media. And less than 24 hours later, a group of volunteers made a big difference.

Felicia White, whose two children play at the park, said the grass came to just over her kids' knees.

That's exactly what Lemar Johnson saw Tuesday afternoon "I said, 'Man, that grass is taller than the kids,'" Johnson said. "So I said, 'We need to do something about that.'"

Volunteers tackle grass, weeds and overgrown shrubs.

Volunteers tackle grass, weeds and overgrown shrubs.

Johnson, who is known around Petersburg for taking action and not complaining, said a crew of 13 volunteers spent three hours Wednesday tackling the grass, weeds and overgrown shrubs.

Robert Green, who lives across the street from the park, was overjoyed.

"As I was sitting on my front porch, all the workers came in and all the people pitched in and cut the grass real good," Green said.

Bari Muhammad spotted the volunteers, pulled out his phone and broadcast their good deed live on Facebook live. He praised the volunteers for making a difference in their community.

The volunteers!

The volunteers!

"As you can see for yourself, it looks great," Johnson said. "You have children out here playing right now. The grass was so high you couldn't tell if there was a snake, raccoon or any type of rodent inside the park."

Ward 2 City Council representative Darrin Hill said he knows the city is responsible for park maintenance,  but appreciates citizens taking the initiative.

"They saw an issue and they stepped up and they cut the grass for our citizens and we really appreciate that,"  Hill said.

The freshly spruced up playground.

The freshly spruced up playground.

Johnson said the helping hand was not to point fingers at the city.

"We stepped in to try and help the city, because if you love this city, why not step in and try to help them?" Johnson said.

If you would like to help the group with their next project, a crew of volunteers plans to tackle the grass at the West Street Playground on Sunday, June 25 at 5:30 p.m.

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