Farmingville residents should notice a difference when they visit Farmingville Hills County Park this week.

The park received a thorough clean-up on Saturday.

More than two dozen volunteers, some of them members of the Farmingville Residents Association (FRA) and the Farmingville Hills Chamber of Commerce, descended on the park at around 10 a.m. and fanned out with garbage bags and tongs in hand.

The clean-up effort followed a short ceremony in which the Farmingville Hills Chamber presented its first student scholarship to Sachem East senior Alexa Brown, for her idea-driven home on how to “make a difference” in the Farmingville community.

The Chamber held a contest for the $500 scholarship to be awarded to an East student who created a video highlighting their best and brightest suggestions to enhance the community. Brown’s submission, which included placing recycling bins at shopping centers, and planning a community clean-up day, was selected as the winner.

Brown said she got the ideas while driving to school with her friend and seeing some of these necessities from the car window. When she became aware of the scholarship through the guidance office at Sachem East, she realized its potential for the community.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids,” Brown said. “And I also think the [future] suggestions would be great for the Farmingville community if they can actually put them into action.”

Michael Wentz, president of the Farmingville Chamber said both the scholarship and the scheduled clean-ups could help create a bridge between civic associations and the school district.

“We’re looking to build a stronger relationship with the school by offering community service credits, which can help students working on their college applications,” Wentz said.

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Brown will be attending Hofstra University in the fall, where she plans on pursuing a degree in the medical field.

This is the sixth annual clean-up effort spearheaded by the FRA, but this year the focus fell on the 103-acre park, lined with dog trails.  

“The Association was responsible for getting this park opened two Aprils ago,” said Jim Stratford, a director of the FRA. “So we have a special feeling for this park and we wanted to concentrate our efforts here.”

Stratford said he anticipates having residents use the park to gather along the Memorial Day parade route, which runs along Horseblock Road, past the park’s entrance.

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