Goal of cleaner streets and neighborhoods
By Francesca Boston
Two new citywide cleanup initiatives are starting this month throughout Jacksonville. City of Jacksonville Alderman Lori Oldenettel has started “Litter Getter” and the “Neighborhood Improvement Initiative.”
Litter Getter is a project that allows community organizations to go out and collect litter on public property, such as sidewalks and curbs, but with the proper supplies and support. Oldenettel said she is partnering with Reynolds Consumer Products, who will supply trash bags to the cleanups, and the other equipment from previous cleanup efforts, such as the Brook Cleanup project, which started in 2012. Oldenettel said it’s a very individualized idea, where each group can go out whenever they choose.
“I thought it would be a great way to pull people together, give them a neighborhood. It would be a great way for the community to work together to help one another out,” Oldenettel said.
The Neighborhood Improvement Initiative is a project that she is working on with the Community Development Office. Every fourth Saturday of the month, volunteers will meet to help homeowners remove unwanted items, help with yard work and general beautification. She said they are working together to identify homes and neighborhoods that need a little help or sprucing up.
Oldenettel said the Community Development Office will help the volunteers get permission from the homeowners to come on to the private property, and all volunteers are required to be over 18 years old to assist with the Neighborhood Improvement project.
Oldenettel said she hopes to reach all parts of the Jacksonville community with these assisted cleanups. She said the homes they are helping spruce up are not necessarily in violation of the Community Development Office, but those of community members who may be struggling.
“We know that sometimes people have fallen on hard times. They may not have the means to bring a dumpster over. Every situation is different,” Oldenettel said.
She said her inspiration behind this was the past Town Brook Cleanup projects and how she has seen people come together to do amazing things for their communities.
“I’m very passionate about removing litter from the community. I know when you bring groups together, volunteers, when we volunteer together, amazing things can happen,” she said.
Service-based groups such as the Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club have already “adopted” blocks for the Litter Getter project. Oldenettel said she has already heard great support for the Neighborhood Improvement Initiative from local churches and other groups. She said the Jacksonville Citywide Cleanup is the second weekend in June for people who are interested as well.
To learn more or to be a part of either project, call Lori Oldenettel at 217-370-4597, or email her at email@example.com.