Annual Mohawk Valley cleanup campaign looking for helping hands – The Daily Gazette
GLOVERSVILLE – Several years ago, Lynne Delesky and her husband, John, decided they’d gather fellow Caroga Lake community members to clean up the roadsides.
The annual effort has been going strong ever since, with roughly 20 people collecting everything from car parts to radiators to help make the area just a little bit cleaner, Delesky said.
That kind of community effort is at the heart of the Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful campaign, which kicked off its sign-up effort on Tuesday at Parkhurst Field in Gloversville. The six-county affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful program, is holding its 21st annual Clean & Green Effort. The program asks community members – be they Little League teams or Girl Scout troops, groups of colleagues or collections of friends – to organize teams to clean up neighborhoods and streets around the Mohawk Valley on April 23 – Earth Day.
The goal is to have 300 teams sign up, said Stephen Smith, executive director of Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, which facilitates the program and supplies volunteers with trash bags and gloves.
Teams of two to more than 50 people from Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie counties can register at OHSWA.org. Keep America Beautiful estimates there are 2,000 pieces of litter per mile along roadways and waterways in the United States.
“Government cannot do everything,” said Scott Horton, vice chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors. Horton said government in the county manages finances, takes care of streets and highways, and serves more than 24,000 residents with social services. “But the lifeblood of a community is in its people–the way that they treat each other and take care of their community. Volunteers exemplify these admirable community traits.”
Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis said clean streets and neighborhoods make a big difference.
“It’s all about the value of a community. It’s all about curbside appeal,” he said. “It’s the value of a piece of property, and that value is denigrated by even just a little bit of litter. There’s a perception that it is not being watched, or it’s not being cared for.”
DeSantis said major city-led initiatives–such as Gloversville’s work with federal agencies to clean up former industrial sites–are crucial. But so, too, are the smaller efforts organized by the people.
“All it takes is 5 or 10 minutes with a trash bag and a pair of gloves, and you can make an amazing difference on your street and around your property. We can all do that immediately,” DeSantis said. “If everybody did that then the Mohawk Valley would be a different place immediately.”
Andrew Waite can be reached at [email protected] and at 518-417-9338. Follow him on Twitter @UpstateWaite.
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