The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 21, 2014

Clean-Up Day service project will spruce up city of Clinton

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON Spring is finally here but with it's arrival it has revealed an unsightly truth in downtown Clinton -- a lot of trash littered on the city streets.

In an attempt to reduce the amount of trash, elected officials, city staff and volunteers will participate in the annual Clinton Community Clean-Up Day.

The purpose is to not only clean up the trash left behind by a snow-ridden winter, but to also beautify the city through community service.

"There's trash all throughout town but we're going to focus on those harder-to- reach places," City Administrator Jessica Kinser said. "We're not really organizing a whole community wide cleanup but we do encourage others to clean up around their own neighborhoods."

The small group of officials and city employees will gather on Saturday near City Hall and will be separated into teams of two or three volunteers. They will then split up throughout town, each with their own project area to focus on.

Ward 4 councilman Paul Gassman participated in last year's cleanup, as well as many before, and said he likes to work on areas that are heavily traveled.

"There's a lot of areas that people park on or travel heavily on that end up with a lot more trash than other areas," he said. "Chief (Brian) Guy, myself and (John) Rowland worked on the ADM side of Liberty Avenue, where all the construction guys would have their lunches and we ended up filling a whole shopping cart with trash."

While Gassman enjoys taking part in the cleanup each year, he also feels a more concerted effort should be given to get more of the community involved with participating.

Even if it is just a group coming together to clean up the city's parks or the Discovery Trail, he'd like to see more residents getting involved.

"I think it would be fun, and a good way to get the people of the community together who normally wouldn't get together," he added.

One group of Clinton residents has always participated in cleaning up the city but its efforts go toward beautifying the downtown district.

For nearly 20 years the Clinton Kiwanis Club has committed two hours every Saturday morning in the summer to cleaning up the downtown. Club members also have stretched their efforts into the Lyons district on occasion but try to remained focused on the heavily traveled downtown area of Clinton.

"Those are the busiest blocks where most of the people are walking around at," Kiwanian Joni Krogman said. "We want the downtown area to look nice for visitors and for people who live here as well."

And those efforts have been noticed. On May 14, city planner Jacob Coupee will present the group with a certificate of thanks for the hard work it puts into making the town more beautiful.

The project's organizer, Robert Hoffmann, said that while they are honored to receive the recognition from the city, they don't do the weekly cleanup to be noticed.

"We are a service club and personally I really see this as an ideal way of service," Hoffmann said. "It's not a big flashy thing but it is a way for us to give back to the community."

Amy Kent can be contacted at amykentclintonherald.com.