— City officials are planning a big cleanup across Philly, and Northeast groups are grabbing bags and pitching in.
Several Northeast Philadelphia groups have signed up to participate in the city’s April 14 spring cleanup.
This will be the fifth year volunteers have answered the city’s call to spruce up their neighborhoods. In the past four cleanups, 5.8 million pounds of trash have been removed.
Besides picking up trash, volunteers painted, planted and made some interesting finds.
In the Northeast, some groups look at the cleanup as a neighborhood get-together and plan on having a little fun while they work. Here are some of the groups who have organized for the cleanup:
• The Lighthouse Soccer Club, Southampton Road and Roosevelt Boulevard. Volunteers will clean up the boundaries of club’s facilities, from Southampton Road to Hornig Road, starting at 8 a.m. April 14 isn’t the only cleanup. The club schedules others during the spring, summer and fall. Contact Charles Meissler, coach and board member, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the organization’s Web site, www.lighthousesoccer.org
• Neighbors on the 1300 block of Aston Place have been organizing a cleanup for years in their Somerton cul-de-sac.
• From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will clean up the green spaces within the boundaries of the Gifford Playground, 575 Tomlinson Road, which include open spaces beyond the playground’s fields, basketball courts and playgrounds. Contact Brian Tait, email@example.com, 215-685-0377. Tait said volunteers will sign in right inside the playground activity room. Equipment will be provided by the Streets Department, but volunteers are free to bring their own work gloves, he said. Last year, neighbors and Girl Scouts collected from 15 to 20 bags of trash. Tait, who was just transferred to Gifford, said the most unusual thing he’s found during a cleanup was a batting glove signed by former Phillies catcher Bo Diaz.
• Pegasus Riding Academy, 8297 Bustleton Ave., has a therapeutic horseback riding program for people with disabilities on 13 acres it leases from Fairmount Park. Volunteers will remove trash and paint picnic benches. Contact Barbara Wertheimer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-742-1500. Volunteers can bring their own gloves. “We will have all other necessary equipment, but they can bring their own rakes and clippers if they wish. We have had a good turnout each year and we are absolutely amazed at what we pull out of the woods,” said Wertheimer, the riding academy’s executive director. “The first year we participated, we extracted old appliances and tires. One year, the pile of trash was over six feet high.”
• Members of the Parkwood Civic Association will start cleaning up litter at Academy and Torrey roads at 9 a.m. They’ll also work on Nanton and Lester roads as well as Torry Woods, according to Marylou Klein, who said individuals have been trying to keep the area tidy every week, but really could use some extra help on April 14. Contact Klein at email@example.com
• The Frankford Parks Group has been keeping after litter and maintenance of small parks in Frankford. In the past, the group’s members and spring cleanup volunteers have picked up trash, painted a basketball court, and weeded and mowed lawns. The group works with block captains, Northeast Epic Stakeholders, elected officials, neighbors and the Frankford Community Development Corporation. This year, the cleanup’s focus will be on vacant lots, alleys and any other potential play areas. Contact Jason Dawkins at Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org
• The Friends of Overington Park will begin cleaning up the Frankford green space at Orthodox and Piling streets at 10 a.m. “We could always use more help,” said Diane Kunze. Contact her at email@example.com. Volunteers should meet close to 4600 Pilling St., near the playground equipment.
• Volunteers will work in and around Large and Arrott streets near Simpson playground starting at 10 a.m. “Volunteers can bring gloves, trash bags and brooms if they want (it would be helpful), but we will also have those items there,” said organizer Bill Melone. “I’ve done the cleanup for the last two years, and we’ve had a nice turnout for both,” he said. “It’s been a great way for neighbors to come together,” adding, “I’m planning to have a neighbor get hot dogs going on a grill, which should make for a good time.”
• Volunteers can join the Tacony Civic Association and the Tacony Community Development Corporation at the Tacony branch of the Free Library, 6742 Torresdale Ave, anytime from 9 to 1 p.m. Organizer Alex Balloon estimated 50 bags of trash will be collected in an 11-block cleanup area.
• Friends of the Mayfair Memorial Playground, Vista and Rollins, will “dewinterize” the playground by resealing wood, removing graffiti, raking up and removing leaves, mulching and planting the beds and planters. Contact Mia Hylan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are needed and should arrive by 9 a.m., Hylan said.
• Volunteers who want to help out at Wissinoming Park should contact Peter Tweed at email@example.com. Every year, the Wissinoming Advisory Council joins with the Wissinoming Civic Association, the Frankford High School ROTC and other community groups to participate in the cleanup at the 40-acre park. ••