Groups working to clean up Parkersburg

City, Solid Waste Authority support volunteer efforts

Photo provided by the Warehouse Church Josh Turner and his daughter, Emery, help clean a sidewalk along Garfield Avenue during the Warehouse Church’s inaugural Spruce Up the City event on April 13.

PARKERSBURG — Various groups are working to clean up the city, one street or block at a time.

In March, employees from the Parkersburg Development Department picked up trash and got Friendship Park ready for spring planting with the assistance of students from Parkersburg South High School as part of the United Way Day of Service. The Avery Historical District Community Association did its first cleanup of the year last month and has another one planned for Saturday from Quincy Park to Eighth Street.

“We thank them and appreciate it,” Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said of the various cleanup efforts. “I think it’s great for folks to take pride in their community.”

The street sweeps in the Avery Street Historical District started last year, said Fuchsia Saarinen, president of the nonprofit community association, as one of several efforts to encourage improvement in the neighborhood.

“Trash is a big problem in the district,” she said. “We knew from day one that we needed to pick up trash and it was going to be an ongoing thing.”

The dates and locations of the sweeps are determined at the association’s monthly meetings, based on the input of residents and when people are available to help out.

“It makes a huge difference,” Saarinen said. “It just looks cleaner.”

A significant cleanup also helps it stay that way, because people are less likely to litter in a clean area than one that already has garbage strewn about, she said.

“Following those sweeps, it takes longer for it to get bad again,” Saarinen said.

The Warehouse Church held its first community cleanup on April 13, picking up litter and edging sidewalks along Murdoch and Garfield avenues.

“Pastor Justin (Enoch) talks often about the church rising up and taking its place. It’s our city and our problem,” outreach director Jennifer Wright said.

Between 55 and 60 people turned out for the event, which the church plans to make a monthly activity, she said.

On the same day, the Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd held its Neighborhood Spring Cleanup, something it’s been doing for several years. A number of groups assisted with the effort, which focused on Seventh Street. Two or three trailer loads of tires alone were removed, Joyce said.

Both the city and the Wood County Solid Waste Authority are willing to provide assistance to groups wanting to do cleanups.

Solid Waste Authority Director John Reed said his agency provides yellow safety vests, gloves, trash bags and pick sticks, as well as orange survey flags people can use to mark the location where needles are found so law enforcement officers can dispose of them later.

Joyce said the city can provide sanitation trucks, street sweepers and a Dumpster in areas where cleanups are planned. It just takes communication.

“Let us know where you’re going to be and what you’re going to be doing,” Joyce said. “We want to make any and all resources available to the groups and the person coordinating the effort.”

People can do that by contacting the Sanitation Department at 304-424-8570 or the mayor’s office at 304-424-8416.

Reed said it seems like there has been “a slight uptick” in cleanup activities.

“The more we get the news out … then other groups read it and say, ‘Hey, there’s an idea,'” he said.

That’s part of the goal of an upcoming cleanup slated for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 4, by Boy Scout Troop 4 as part of the annual World Scouts Trash the Trash Day. Assistant Scoutmaster Al Hupp said the boys will focus on 20th Street between St. Marys and Park avenues.

“I’m hoping our troop can kick this off and other troops can pick it up,” he said. “There’s a lot of units in our area. We can make a huge impact.”

Downtown PKB has a Cleanup/Greenup event scheduled two weeks later.