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Operation Clean Streets

More than 100 students worked to clean streets

More than 100 volunteers gather in the gazebo for a group photo before the downtown cleanup on Saturday at Rail Station Park. At the center steps are, from left, city clerk Jenni Mazur, who coordinated the event; Mayor Vincent DeSantis; and Bill Rowback, who is running for councilman-at-large. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

By ERIC RETZLAFF

The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE — The trash on downtown streets were eye-openers for the more than 150 volunteers who picked up all kinds of debris on Saturday morning during Operation Clean Streets.

Starting at Trail Station Park, groups fanned out to collect enough refuse to fill three pickup truck loads. Among the items were high-top sneakers, feces-filled diapers and paper towels, car parts, dead birds and squirrels, paint cans, wine bottles, half a meat sandwich, metal pieces, a hat, red boxer underwear, fast food containers–and most frequently, countless cigarette butts.

“The amount of fast food containers they found was just crazy,” said Jenni Mazur, city clerk and coordinator of the event.

The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff A highlighted map shows the Gloversville streets where more than 150 volunteers picked up trash on Saturday during Operation Clean Streets. They began at Trail Station Park and fanned out. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

All of it went to the Department of Public Works dumpster.

Volunteers were pleased with what they accomplished.

“It’s been a fabulous pickup,” said Judie Siler, who worked with a group of high school Key Club members.

Mazur said she had more than 100 signed up, but was correct when she said, “I’m anticipating quite a few walk-ins.”

Mazur gave out plastic protective gloves and collection bags and assigned groups to sections of downtown–from McNab to Prospect Hill and from Forest Street to Fifth Avenue was mapped out.

Amy Romeey gathers her Gloversvillle schools field hockey team for the downtown cleanup on Saturday at Trail Station Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“The clean-up issue was something that was raised at the CEO Roundtable,” she said.

“We’re hoping to do this monthly, in November and then in the spring.”

Ultimately, Mazur said she hopes such events won’t be needed.

“We’re trying to get people involved in their community to help their community,” she said.

Mayor Vince DeSantis, who was involved in the pickup, said such efforts are part of community revitalization.

Alison Harrison of Gloversville Middle School picks up an empty water bottle on Spring Street during the downtown cleanup on Saturday at Trail Station Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“If you change the attitude and spirit of the community, it becomes a different community,” he said.

The aim is “to instill pride in the place we live,” he added.

Most of the clean-up crews consisted of students, school club advisers and parents from the Gloversville Enlarged School District, such as the varsity football team, the Key Club and National Honor Society, Builders Club and Kindness Club. Volunteers also came from Taylor Made.

Ashley Ward of Bleecker and her daughter, Jayden, who attends Boulevard Elementary

School, were among the participants.

“It’s Jayden’s first volunteer involvement, something I strongly encourage,” Ashley Ward said. “I am very excited. I really want to pick up. Community involvement brings the community together.”

A group from Gloversville High School stands in front of trash they picked from Gloversville streets on Saturday during Operation Clean Streets. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

The group that was cleaning up Washington Street near South Main Street found the high-top sneakers under a bush.

The team had to focus on larger items because innumerable cigarette butts would have consumed all of their time. One volunteer on another team suggested the city put up cigarette receptacles.

The clean-up was like a non-treasure hunt with eureka moments. A group cleaning near the Cayadutta Creek found the dead squirrel.

“I’m the one who found the red underwear,” Austin Harrison announced.

Nickolas Viscosi of the Gloversville Middle School Builders Club picks up a pair of black high-top sneakers on Washington Street during the downtown cleanup on Saturday at Trail Station Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Mikaela Wager of the Kindness Club at Boulevard school displays a plastic golfball she picked up on the Railtrail during the downtown cleanup on Saturday at Rail Station Park. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

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