Two parks in the Spenard and Turnagain neighborhoods are getting a makeover.


Anchorage Parks and Recreation workers are constructing new “tiny houses” at the Barbara Street Park, near West 32nd Avenue and Barbara Street. Another crew is working to level the ground at the Kiwanis Fish Creek Park, on East Turnagain Boulevard, for a new play structure, too.


It’s part of the department’s effort to improve greenbelts and parks with the community’s help.


“Our volunteers are crucial to keeping our public spaces alive,” said park planner Taylor Keegan. “They’re our eyes on the streets. We have our maintenance crews going around and they do what they can but ultimately it’s the users and the neighbors that are the owners to the land.”


Volunteers will have a chance to get their hands dirty this weekend. Parks and Recreation and the Anchorage Park Foundation are holding a Neighborhood Fix-It along the Fish Creek Trail, which connects the two parks.


“We went through a few weeks ago and marked trees with this orange spray paint so people just have to look for that,” volunteer coordinator Michelle Fehribach.


They’ll be using weed wrenches to pull out invasive European bird cherry trees that have taken over.


“What we’re looking to do is open up some of the areas that have dense vegetation that creates low visibility, people can’t see what’s on the trail and it crowds out native vegetation and is harmful for moose,” Fehribach explained.


While maintenance staff do the bulk of the big projects — like installing the new, handicap accessible playgrounds — Fehribach said it’s the neighbors’ help that makes the extra projects possible.


“Volunteer time is estimated at $23 an hour, so if we have 20 volunteers and they work for three hours it adds up to a pretty significant chunk of money. Having volunteers come out is a large contribution and I don’t think everyone realizes that,” Fehribach said.


The Neighborhood Fix-It is Saturday, July 30 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Woodland Park shelter on 36th Avenue and Iowa Street.


KTVA 11's Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.