Volunteers remove weeds, litter to restore pride to Campbell

By jeanne starmack



They stood on the corner of Coitsville Road at Wilson Avenue and looked, with frustration evident on their faces, at the cluster of signs across Coitsville Road.

The grass in front of the parking lot of the small business behind them and in the devil’s strips, was at least freshly mowed, they noted.

But the area has gotten bad again with weeds and litter, said Campbell residents Gerald Hamilton and Annette Tovarnak, since they and 50-plus other people cleaned it in October.

Their group, the Campbell Pride Project, enthusiastically launched its efforts to revitalize the city with that first cleanup.

They returned weeks later to do a second one there.

In mid-May, they began to develop a community garden on vacant school district property near the corner of Penhale and Tenth streets.

On Memorial Day, they planted vegetables and flowers in the garden and cleaned up Roosevelt Park, planting flowers there as well.

They’ve tended the garden and donated 47 pounds of produce to Second Harvest Food Bank, Tovarnak said.

From last October, the group is back where it started.

Another cleanup of Wilson Avenue is planned for Sunday.

“We’re going to keep doing this as long as it needs it,” Hamilton vowed.

Their work, it seems, is never done.

They walked across Coitsville Road and confronted the signs up close.

The larger ones, one which reads “Welcome to Campbell” and another that advertises a church, “are half-way decent,” Hamilton said.

He walked into the middle of Coitsville to pick up a small, tattered sign and its flimsy metal stand.

“It’s these small ones that blow around,” he continued as he walked over to the grass next to the other signs and laid it there.

In anticipation of Campbell Memorial High School’s first home game Sept. 1, he and Tovarnak said, the group will focus on Wilson up to First Street. That’s an entrance way to the city that visitors going to the game will use, they pointed out.

They will go back up Coitsville as they did in the first cleanup if they have to, they said. Annette noted, however, that property owners there are starting to act on their own to keep it clean and mowed.

They welcome as much help as they can get, and volunteers should bring whatever tools, including mowers, they have available. Gloves and water will be provided.

Keep an eye out for group meetings to start up again. They went by the wayside during the summer, the two said.

The cleanup is from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Volunteers are meeting at the city building on Tenney Avenue at 1:45 p.m.

See the group’s Facebook page, called Campbell Pride Project, for information or to post a question.

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