Gary seeks volunteers for clean-up effort

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GARY CITY WORKERS do spring cleaning in one of the city’s neighborhoods.

By Giavonni Nickson

Gary’s spring Blight Buster Day is coming, and the city is in search of at least 1,000 volunteers to take part in the City-Wide Clean-Up Initiative.

On Saturday, April 27, 2019 city departments, businesses, community organizations, faith-based groups, educational institutions, block clubs, and other volunteers will clean up in the city’s downtown for the annual spring Blight Buster Day.

This year’s Blight Buster Day will cover Broadway in the city’s downtown and on 4th Avenue targeting debris removal, grass cutting on vacant lots, public safety, board-up, and demolition. All are invited to join the city in this important community initiative.

The Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services (MOCS) has planned the City’s annual Blight Buster Day for the past five years. For the past three years, the mayor’s office has had over 1,000 volunteers during “Building Blocks” Blight Buster Day.

Director of the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services (MOCS) LaShawn Brooks says, “We are still looking for 1,000 volunteers.” Volunteers may bring rakes, brooms, and other supplies. The city will provide safety materials, garbage bags, and gloves. Volunteers are asked to be at the Hudson-Campbell Fitness Center, 455 Massachusetts Street at 7:30 a.m.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the community cleanup may do so by calling the MOCS at 219-881-4815 or via email: lbrooks@ci.gary.in.us. Volunteers may register via the city’s website at www.gary.in.us through Monday, April 22nd.

Blight elimination and prevention are essential to Gary residents’ health, safety, and welfare. Gary residents are partners in tackling the issue of blight in the city by beautifying neighborhoods and making them safer. High impact projects like Blight Busters and Love Your Block utilize volunteerism for neighborhood blight prevention and elimination. The Love Your Block (LYB) program volunteer clean up and construction activities may include: mowing overgrown lawns, boarding up abandoned buildings, removing trash, trimming thick bushes, building community gardens, laying walking paths, and building park fences.

These programs collectively support the Gary City-Wide Clean Initiative.

Saturday, April 27th is also the city’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection & Green Awareness Day, to be held congruent with the City’s Blight Buster Day. Gary Residents may dispose of items like medications, cleaning agents, paint, chemicals, medical needles, household batteries, carpet cleaner, fluorescent bulbs, shoe polish, and pet supplies.

Additionally, residents are reminded not to throw chemicals out with regular household trash, or flush down the toilet or drains. Chemicals in the trash are hazardous to water, our land, and the city residents’ health.

The City’s Department of Green Urbanism, the Gary Storm Water Management District, and the Parks and Recycling Departments will additionally partner with the Lake Michigan Districts Household Hazardous Waste Program and the Lake County Solid Waste Management District to host Household Hazardous Waste Collection & Green Awareness Day (HHW/Green) in the city of Gary.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection will be open from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at 455 Massachusetts Street; the Hudson-Campbell Parking Lots. Environmental Information Booths, Tire Disposal, Recycle Bins, Paper Shredding, Small Engine Gas Can Exchange, Refreshments and more are among the free services offered on HHW/Green Day.

While the city seeks volunteers to help with cleanup in targeted areas, residents can clean up and clean out around their homes and properly dispose of hazardous materials during this cleanup effort. Community groups can even collect old tires, computers, cell phones and other electronics for proper disposal. The drop off site will not accept business, commercial or school hazardous waste, explosives, medical waste, narcotic prescription drugs or radioactive materials.

For more information about HHW/Green Day, contact the Gary Department of Green Urbanism at 219-882-3000. Brenda Scott-Henry is Director. For other volunteer opportunities in the city, email mocs@ci.gary.in.us. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Giavonni Nickson

Giavonni is a passionate freelance writer native of Gary IN. She covers business, politics, and community schools for the Chicago/Gary Crusader.

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