Monday, April 30, 2018
A spring effort to clean up city neighborhoods to help attract business to the area will take place Saturday.
“The goal of the cleanup is to clean all the litter and loose trash,” said Jen Jones, coordinator of Green Youngstown, which administers litter prevention and recycling programs within the city. “It’s an opportunity for people to clean up where they live. Mainly the biggest push is to get loose litter that sits there all year round. It’s basically litter cleanup for the entire city.”
These cleanups not only drive community engagement but also tend to attract business, Jones said.
“It’s proven through research where there’s litter, properties are worth less,” Jones said. “By cleaning up litter, it draws in businesses. It looks like people care about where they live. People don’t realize how litter has a direct effect on the economy. Business sales increase 7 to 10 percent. If we could just get all the litter off the ground, it would give a nice boost to our city, and we would see a direct economic benefit,” she added.
The Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown also is having its cleanup day at the same time.
For the club, the focus is on the kids in the community, said Germaine McAlpine, executive director of the club, located at 2105 Oak Hill Ave. on the city’s South Side.
“Our goals are to expose the community to the club as well as make the youth take pride in this as well,” McAlpine said. “We want some accountability. We’re going to take pride in our program space. We’re going to take pride in our building, as well as our community. So, it’s some accountability on our kids, on our neighbors, on our partners to say, ‘Hey, we’re all in this together.’”
This is the third year the club has hosted its own cleanup coordinated with Green Youngstown, the Youngstown Parks and Recreation Department, and Community Corrections Association.
This year, the club is expanding its reach farther into the neighborhood.
“We want to continually beautify these neighborhoods in Youngstown,” she said. “It starts with our immediate neighborhood. The city of Youngstown is a family. No matter how anybody looks at it, we’re all a family, and we want to take care of the family.”
Jones said supplies are provided free of charge through grants from Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit aimed at educating and inspiring individuals to beautify their environment.
Garbage bags and bottled water were donated by Glad and the American Red Cross.
A second citywide cleanup will take place this fall.
For those interested in volunteering, supplies will be passed out from 8 a.m. to noon at the Covelli Center box office. Volunteers can work anytime that day. Registration is not necessary, but is appreciated.
To preregister, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 330-744-7526, or visit the Green Youngstown Facebook page. Anyone interested in volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club’s cleanup can email email@example.com or call 330-782-2714, ext. 104.