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Downtown EC Cleanup Draws About 400 Volunteers

Posted May 22nd, 2013

Downtown EC Cleanup Draws About 400 Volunteers


By Jon Swedien- Leader-Telegram staff
 

When the snow melts each spring, uncovered along the streets of downtown Eau Claire are scattered cigarette butts and litter, branches and leaves that collected in the gutters, and a dusting of sand anddirt along the sidewalks.

For the past seven years, volunteers have converged on downtown in May to sweep away winter's debris during Downtown Eau Claire Inc.'s annual "Our City Spring Cleanup."

Mary Clark and her family, husband Gary and four children, are regular volunteers for the event. Saturday morning the Clark family planted day lilies, hostas and irises along Graham Avenue in support of this year's cleanup effort. Clark said her family's reason for volunteering is simple. "We love it. We love downtown," said Clark, a pastor at Valleybrook Church located in downtown Eau Claire. "Our kids have grown up doing this."

About 400 people volunteered for this year's effort, said Salina Heller, communications and promotions coordinator for DECI. "It went really well. We had a lot of people," Heller said, the principle organizer for the cleanup event. She said 393 signed up for the clean up, most of whom came, and about 25 others showed up to help. She said the volunteers numbers were up slightly from last year. "They helped do whatever tasks were needed," Heller said, adding it was sometimes hard to find work for all of the volunteers.

Volunteers - who wore white and pink shirts that said, "I Love Eau Claire" - said the weather was ideal despite overcast skies. Temperatures were cool, so volunteers did not get hot, and while the sky was overcast there was no rain during the cleanup. "It was good," Heller said. "We always worry about rain." Heller also noted two years ago temperatures were in the 40's for the cleanup, whereas they were in the 60s Saturday and were much more comfortable. "I think this is about perfect weather," Clark said. "It's not too hot, it's not too cold."

Volunteers swept sidewalks, washed store windows, cleaned gutters, picked up alleyways and planted flowers. They also assisted nonprofits in the downtown with cleanup projects, Heller said. She said volunteers washed windows at Western Dairyland and helped arrange costumes at the Eau Claire Children's Theatre.

Organizers worked from 9 a.m. to noon and then had lunch at Phoenix Park. Heller said many of the volunteers belonged to groups organized by local businesses or churches. She noted JAMF Software had 35 employees volunteer Saturday. "They just came together and it's a very special community project," Heller said. 

Cindy Hoenisch of Eau Claire said she volunteered to clean up because she wants to enjoy a clean downtown. "I live up the hill and I walk down all the time," Hoenisch said. Al Whitsitt doesn't live in or near downtown Eau Claire, but he does go downtown on Sundays when he attends church at Valleybrook. As he swept a sidewalk along Graham Avenue, Whitsitt said he likes the downtown looking clean. "It's nice to come out and make the city look good," he said.

To view the Leader Telegram article, click here.

Group Photo 

 OC

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