Volunteers on Saturday took to the streets in Pawtucket and Central Falls to clean garbage, remove graffiti, and plant flowers in an effort to beautify their communities during the city’s annual Earth Day celebrations.
Arthur Plitt, president of the Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket, explained that Saturday’s city-wide cleanup was “a really great event on a nice day.”
“People really put forth the effort to make sure things happen,” Plitt said from the cleanup’s headquarters at Galego Court on Weeden Street, adding that volunteers donated books and flowers, while aiding in cleaning the city.
Approximately 600 volunteers were spread throughout the various sites in Pawtucket, aiming to beautify the city after a long and bleak winter.
"I think everybody has been though the rut of winter, where streets and yards looked terrible, but we put the word out and people are doing whatever they can," Plitt said. "They're really ready, willing, and able."
Plitt was particularly thrilled at the fact that so many volunteers were children and teenagers, calling the "the stewards of our future."
"I think this is truly about what a great Earth we have and the need to protect it," he said. "It's something to be really proud of, a learning process, and people want to help."
Mayor Donald R. Grebien, who was at the Galego Court headquarters early Saturday morning, said that ensuring the cleanliness and beauty of the city was on of the most important things for residents in the community.
The volunteers were going, "above and beyond" Saturday, Grebien said, adding that it showed the community's sense of of being good neighbors.
"They are stewards." Grebien said, agreeing with Plitt's sentiment regarding the volunteers. "They set and example."
Volunteers assemboed in groups were spread across the city at various areas, including the Moshassuck Rover, Payne Park, Boys & Girls Club, Nathaneal Greene School, and Morley Field.
In Central Falls, more than 250 volunteers gathered at Central Falls High School to make their square-mile city a little bit more green.
After arriving, at the high school, gloves, shovels, and rakes were distributed to the volunteers, who were then assigned to a team with a designated area to clean, including public parks, main streets, and school zones.
Parks and Recreation Director Joshua Giraldo said that the day was "extremely important" in its efforts to bring the community together, noting that it instilled a sense of community pride.
"We're very fortunate to get a wide array of residents young and old.. to all come together," Giraldo said.
He also noted how important it was to have the city's younger residents participating, in the hope that Saturday's efforts will only further make them aware of the significance of keeping Central Falls clean.
"They take pride in their city and we"ll leave the city in their hands," Giraldo said.
City Council President Bob Ferri agreed with Giraldo's sentiment, calling the youngest volunteers "the future" future of the city. He also said cleanliness throughout the square-mile city was important in attracting homeowners and businesses.
"My hat's off to the city. It's a nice turnout," Ferri said.
Mayor James Diossa briefly addressed the crowd of volunteers in the gymnasium at Central Falls High before the groups dispersed to clean the city. He applauded their efforts in "taking the extra steps to make the city greener."
After taking gloves, shovels, and rakes, groups of volunteers cleaned various areas in the city including Jenks Park, the Crossman Street playground, Sacred Heart playground, Illinois Street park, and various schools.
Full story can be read in Monday's edition of the Pawtucket Times, A1. Also accessed online here.