Downtown neighbors are teaming up on Saturday May 19, to pick-up the trash left behind the cities’ West Side during the long winter months. The fourth annual West Side Community Clean Up will mobilize volunteers and arm them with maps, trash bags and rubber gloves for the three hour power clean up. “Last year, 30 volunteers picked up 7,600 pounds of trash across 20 city blocks, including several high priority areas identified by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Grand Rapids Streets and Sanitation, and Kent County Road Commission,” reports Erica Curry VanEe, one of the co-founders and organizers of the West Side Community Clean Up. “We found mattresses, shopping carts, tv’s, construction equipment, and even recovered a wallet and drivers license from a car break left in a pile of debris in an abandoned lot in the cities west side. Our goal for 2012 is 50 volunteers and 10,000 lbs of trash!” Volunteers will leave the filled trash bags at pre-determined locations for the City to pick up, weigh, and dispose of. In addition to trash pick-up, volunteers will be tending the West Side’s environmental rain gardens, and use their smart phones to document and report graffiti and maintenance issues to the City through the “GRCity 311″ smart phone application.
The event is part of a larger grass roots effort to invest in local neighborhood revitalization, beautification and economic development. The West Side Community Clean Up coincides with the second annual LiveWest campaign by WelcomeWest, where local businesses to offer deals to customers for supporting West Side businesses throughout the month of May. “After we clean up the area, we provide lunch for all the volunteers and give out gift certificates to local establishments. In 2011, more than 20 local businesses contributed over $2000 in sponsorships. We believe this helps stimulate growth for the West Side,” says Curry VanEe. “In 2012, we want to increase participation in this annual event, and begin a conversation with leaders about the future of our cities neighborhood. We are recruiting volunteers from the broader community, including downtown dwellers, local businesses, non-profits, faith communities and elected officials.”
Volunteers will be meeting in the south parking lot of Union Square Condominiums at 600 Broadway NW on Saturday May 19th at 9am. The event will be followed by a community engagement lunch and conversation with West Side leaders, beginning at 12:30 pm at Broadway Bar. Event details are at this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/167317483393999/ .
We hope you’ll join us!