Volunteers spruce up downtown Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG – Volunteers Saturday morning replanted flower beds and cleaned litter in downtown Parkersburg.

Why?

“To help beautify downtown Parkersburg, and volunteer with Downtown PKB,” volunteer Anne Baker said.

“And this is a weed,” Baker then said, pulling the growth from the flower bed at Second and Ann streets.

The clean up project was organized through Downtown PKB and was the second year it has been held.

“We hope to make it quarterly,” said Carrie Nesselrode, president of the organization.

Saturday’s work party was involved with cleaning and with replanting the decorative flower beds starting in the area around the Downtown Farmers’ Marketplace. How far it extended depended on the number of volunteers, Nesselrode said.

Among the volunteers were high school students from Williamstown High School and Parkersburg High School, who said they participated to show pride in the community and bolster their resumes.

“It’s always nice to volunteer,” said Victoria Buckley, a sophomore at Williamstown High.

She participated with Victoria Clark, also a sophomore at Williamstown High.

“We’re trying to help our community out,” Max Turner, a sophomore at Parkersburg High, said.

That goes with a sense of volunteerism, of community involvement, Turner said.

“It gives us a sense of pride,” said Graham Nesselrode, also a sophomore at Parkersburg High and Carrie Nesselrode’s son.

The youth aspect is a part of the Downtown PKB mission, Carrie Nesselrode said.

The organization wants to know what youth want in their community, the kind of things that would interest them, she said. Downtown PKB is organizing a youth advisory board, Nesselrode said.

While the organization will organize youth activities, young adults should accept some responsibility in return, such as volunteering and helping their community, she said. Saturday’s work party was an opportunity to perform a community service, which students are often asked to demonstrate on scholarship applications, Nesselrode said.

The clean up project was aided by the Department of Highways and the city of Parkersburg. The Highways Department donated gloves, orange vests and pickers, devices used to catch trash without having to bend over, Nesselrode said.

Volunteers assembled at the Point Park Market Place by the floodwall Downtown where they received their duty assignments.

Among those was Chelsey Maiden. People feel better and have pride when things look nice, she said.

“Just cleaning up a flower pot can make a difference,” she said.

Among the flowers planted in the beds were petunias, begonias and ivies, said John Whitmore, planning director in the development department of the city of Parkersburg.

Volunteers also cleaned litter on Market Street and sidestreets when time allowed, he said.

“The goal today is green up, clean up,” Whitmore said.

Mother Nature cooperated with a beautiful clear sky and comfortable temperatures for the morning job that lasted to about noon.

“This is great,” said Rickie Yeager, municipal development director for the city of Parkersburg.

This is the second year, but the aim is for the clean up to become quarterly and held every year, he said.

Yeager and his wife, Wendy, participated in the work party of about a dozen people.

“The more volunteers we can get the better,” he said.