Often, it's more than the Parks & Recreation staff of 30 can handle. For that, there's the Adopt-a-Park Program.
One St. Joseph man has taken it to heart.
When Tim Doyle goes to St. Joseph's Riverfront Park, he sees the trash, the graffiti and the wear and tear of time and neglect. But, he also sees potential.
"There's so much that can be done here," Doyle says.
Doyle has vision.
"I would love to see events happen down here," he said. "I would love to see concerts in the summertime. Different events where folks can just come and enjoy, hang out and feel safe."
Doyle admits before the park gets to that point, much work needs to be done.
"I always like to bring visitors down here to show them our city's historical treasure," he said. "In recent years, it's been kind of an embarrassment."
Wanting to do something about it, Doyle created a non-profit organization and signed up for the city's Adopt-a-Park program.
For the city's more than 40 parks and 26 miles of parkway, volunteer groups agree to clean up trash in their adopted area at least once every three months. Doyle wants to focus on the riverfront.
"Things have fallen into neglect," he said. "I understand the city's resources are tight. We felt like as a citizen's group, if we could step up and help."
Parks & Recreation staff agree. Civic and other volunteer groups volunteer as much as $92,000 in manpower per year.
"It really makes a difference to have help," said Lucinda Weaver, a layout and design technician with the St. Joseph Parks & Recreation Department.
Weaver is excited that Doyle wants to go above and beyond. Through a combination of cleaning, painting, landscaping and other hard work, Doyle believes Riverfront Park can return to a place that people can be proud of.
"We believe the river is our city's greatest historic treasure," Doyle said. "I believe so much history has passed over this river, including the Pony Express. No other city in America can boast that we were the gateway for the largest human migration in history."
"To have our parks looking clean, especially that Riverfront Park looking spiffy, that's just fantastic," Weaver said.
Doyle plans a group clean-up event for this Saturday at 10 a.m.
To learn more about participating, email Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.