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Organizations participate in cleanup efforts

By Staff | Apr 13, 2011

With Earth Day fast around the corner on April 15, several organizations across the Mountain State are doing some community spring cleaning.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan program teamed up with the West Virginia Division of Highways to sanction the 2011 West Virginia Make It Shine Statewide Cleanup. Six organizations from Hancock south to Wetzel counties are doing their part to beautify the Ohio Valley.

From April 1-15, all groups involved will clean up such proposed areas as waterways, riversides, illegal dumps, parks, playgrounds, schoolgrounds and public cemeteries. The WVDEP Pollution Prevention and Open Dump Program has provided the materials, such as trash bags and gloves, while the WVDOH has committed trash hauling to a nearby landfill.

All six group representatives noted the program has provided them with all the materials necessary at no cost.

The Warwood Middle School LEO’s Club will commandeer a cleanup of their school grounds and surrounding river banks and parks. Security officer at the school and club sponsor Bill McGuire said this will be the second year for the program. Though last year’s event warranted few students, he said more children will participate with almost 10 percent of the school involved. The initial plan was to clean up on April 2, but rain cancelled those plans. McGuire said the cleanup will take place at some point before Earth Day.

Warwood Lions Club secretary Judy Swerens said the LEO’s Club will also take part in an Adopt-A-Highway event on the following Tuesday involving both groups. They will clean portions of W.Va. 2.

Grand Vue Park officials have used the opportunity last year to beautify their public park in Moundsville.

Danielle Stocklask, program coordinator at the park, said she hopes to pull in volunteers from the general community, but expects many high school children in need of service hours to graduate to take part in an April 19 cleanup, weather permitting.

“The overall feeling of the event was very positive,” Stocklask said of last year’s cleanup. “What we like to get of this event is respect and acknowledgement of park property. We have had careless patrons come to the park for years dumping trash all throughout the park with no worries. Now people will understand just how much we care about the park and that we expect patrons to care about the park as well.”

Stocklask said the primary areas of focus will be the roadways entering the park and the more commonly used outdoor facilities.

The Make It Shine program has for the last two years honored the village of Beech Bottom with awards for its community cleanup efforts. Blake Williams, co-chair of the local neighborhood watch, is assisting in drawing the community together for the first time in the April cleanup.

On Saturday, Williams said the neighborhood watch members and an anticipated strong showing from the community will focus on the church and school grounds, playgrounds and the Brooke Pioneer Trail.

The city of Chester will also undertake a cleanup of several areas. Councilman Mike Dodson said several landmarks, such as the “World’s Largest Tea Pot” and Rock Spring Park, public roads, river overlook, playgrounds and school grounds will be populated by several volunteers and city officials. While Saturday is what Dodson calls the official day, cleanups of these areas will continue through May. The Chester Street Department will handle all collections outside of Saturday.

“We hope to keep going with the program,” Dodson said. “The state is behind it and the city is behind it and we’ll keep participating as long as its available.”

“I’m hoping for a good turnout,” added City Clerk Sandra Parkins. “It’s a good thing for our city and great for volunteers … It shows they have some pride.”

New Cumberland residents will be pleased to see more improvements at the Crestview Park on Saturday. George Hines, community service director with Keep New Cumberland Beautiful – a local branch of Keep America Beautiful, said a crew of volunteers will clear waste and tend the plants for a seventh year of participation with Make It Shine.

In addition, the volunteers will clean up parts of the river banks from the park to the Hardins Run Creek.

“It’s a great program and it’s a great way to get tourists to compliment our town,” Hines said. “A lot of volunteers are working hard and spending their time making their cities look good.”

In Wetzel County, the Paden City Garden Club will take initiative to clean the Paden City Park recently. Spokesperson Nancy Springer said the club – with a hand from volunteers – will focus on litter and leaves as it did last year. She added the 2010 cleanup resulted in 48 total garbage bags being filled.

Springer said the club often participates in these types of cleanups and the group has been inspired lately to bud an anti-litter campaign within the city.