Spruce up Salem

SALEM – Area residents can help spruce up downtown Salem, remove graffiti or shred their desks and offices of paperwork clutter during three separate, but related events Saturday morning.

A spring clean-up of downtown takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, a graffiti removal event takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. meeting at city hall’s front parking lot and a community shredding event is from 10 a.m. to noon in the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce parking lot, hosted by the Chamber Ambassadors and Cintas Document Management.

The work kicks off at 9 a.m. at McCulloch Park on East State Street in downtown Salem where the chamber’s Beautification Committee will assign areas and send people out to sweep sidewalks, clean out flower beds and around bushes and trees, pull weeds and clean up municipal parking lots.

The clean-up will continue until noon, with volunteers asked to bring their own tools, such as rakes, leaf blowers or brooms. Bags will be provided.

Chamber Executive Director Audrey Null said people will go in teams and noted any community groups or church groups are welcome to join them. She noted that Salem Varsity Football Coach Ron Johnson planned to bring members of the football team to help out.

“We also want to encourage people in the community to work around their own homes outside. It’s a good day to take stock of what needs done around your property, whether it’s your business or home,” Null said. “Just the little things make such a difference.”

For the shred event from 10 a.m. to noon, she said people are asked to enter the alley behind the chamber building from Pershing Street. People are asked to limit the number of boxes to 10 banker/copy paper size boxes. If any businesses have more than 10 boxes, they can contact Cintas and make arrangements for pickup at their office at a reduced rate by calling Cintas representative Bob Thomas at 330-277-3194.

Null said they had heard about other shred events and thought it was a good opportunity for the Salem area. It’s free and all the shredding is done on-site in a truck. Null said it’s a safe way to get rid of documents that have been accumulating and “it’s a good outreach for the chamber to serve the community.”

During the shred event, the Salem Memorial & Patriotic Association will have a table set up in the chamber parking lot to collect American flags for proper disposal and give out flyers for ordering new flags. The Salem Area Safety Council will have coloring books and crayons for children.

City Councilman Rick Drummond, who’s been leading an anti-graffiti group, said volunteers are asked to meet in the front parking lot of city hall at 10 a.m. and bring supplies if they have some. He purchased some buckets and scrub brushes, along with several cans of spraypaint removal spray. A rain date of April 27 is set for the same time if necessary.

During a recent inventory, the group documented more than 90 pieces of graffiti throughout the city. Plans call for them to fan out in groups and remove as much as they can. They’ll be armed with addresses of businesses and homes, along with waiver forms. Property owners will be approached for permission before volunteers enter any properties. Drummond urged residents to come out and help.

“This is your city. If you’re serious about it, show up,” he said.

The Beautification Committee will be planting flowers in May. This year the committee is asking the public to help water the flower containers from June through August (not more than four containers per person.) Individuals, groups, boy/girl scouts or families would be welcome.

Last year, several committee members had 12 to 15 containers each to water three to four days a week. With the tremendous heat last year, the task was overwhelming for several of the members, committee co-chairman Karen Carter said.

All flower containers for the Adopt-a-Planter program have been sold, with Null offering thanks to all who donated to the cause. The committee will continue presenting an award for Home & Business of the Month, starting this year in May (home only). Co-chairman Elaine Rousseau-Kothera said, “We will continue our awards for home & business of the month from June to September. If you would like to nominate someone, please call the chamber.”

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at mgreier@salemnews.net