Groups pitching in to help with Dover riverwalk vision

By LESLIE MODICA Democrat Staff Writer
Friday, November 23, 2007

DOVER — Crew members of the Coast Guard will be wearing several different hats over the next month as they volunteer for a variety of local nonprofits.

Volunteers from the Portsmouth-based U.S. Coast Guard cutter Tahoma will be providing much-needed heavy labor for the Joe B. Parks Community Garden Monday as part of the volunteer program. Coast Guard members will spread stone dust, bark mulch and move compost to help finish the first phase of the project before winter.

The community garden volunteer effort is part of a broader project coordinated by United Way of the Greater Seacoast and the Ageless Dreamers Foundation. Coast Guard members are volunteering for several local nonprofits, including Dover Main Street, Dover’s Children Center, the Bell Center, Cocheco Valley Humane Society and Dover Adult Learning until the end of December while their ship is overhauled.

Coast Guard Lt. JG Sean Norris said a list of volunteer opportunities was posted at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where the crew is based, and crew members have been able to choose which projects they would like to volunteer for.

Coast Guard members arrived at the Joe B. Parks Community Garden Tuesday to begin the work, but were unable to do the work because of heavy snowfall. The volunteers instead spent the day at the Dover Children’s Center.

Before the snow began, though, Parks took the opportunity to thank the volunteers and the community for their efforts on the garden.

“I feel embarrassed that it has been named after Joe Parks,” Parks said. “At this point, it’s the Dover Community Garden.” Dover Main Street began work on the community garden in September after City Council approved a resolution to name the project after Parks, who has been visible in the community through volunteer work and his own garden for years. Parks designed the new community garden and donated more than 100 plants from his own garden to the project.