MADISON, NJ—As the sun peeked in and out from behind an overcast sky Saturday morning, at least 900 volunteers grabbed shovels, hauled mulch and pulled up weeds at dozens of public spaces across town for the borough’s annual spring beautification day, May Day in Madison.
The community service event has been part of the borough’s annual event list for more than a decade.
May Day “shows the community’s commitment,” said Leslie Lajewski of the Downtown Development Commision, the event’s sponsoring organization. “In being part of this town you are part of something larger than yourself.”
Town officials, parents, residents and children alike all participated in Saturday’s event. Each volunteer donned their May Day t-shirt, designed by Owen Armstrong, a third-grader at Torey J. Sabatini Elementary School who won the annual May Day t-shirt design contest.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 7 and Cub Pack 7 visited James Park to clean up trash and lay new mulch, most of which was donated by the town, according to Lajewski.
“People are always littering and there’s so much pollution,” said Justin Slabaugh, 12, the troop’s scout in charge for May Day. “I think it’s important to give back to the Earth.”
Troop 7 adopted James Park as a community service project at least 60 years ago, according to the troop’s charter liaison, Kathy Dailey.
“Every year we have a team of scouts who come here,” Dailey said. “This is one of our major service projects of the year.”
The park is located near the intersection of Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, and has two sections on each side of the NJ Transit tracks, with an overpass that allows park goers to access both sides.
A group of volunteers at the Madison Train Station climbed the steep embankments along the train tracks to lay hundreds of bags of mulch. The group made a strange discovery during their work, according to former Mayor Gary Ruckelshaus: a Bible, written completely in Spanish.
“There are tons of markings and writings inside,” said Margo Conley, who found the buried Bible. “It’s something really important to somebody to somewhere.”