This Saturday, I had the pleasure of helping out with the first ever Keep Norton Beautiful town cleanup. It was great seeing the community pull together for one goal...to keep the town they are so obviously proud of clean.
"We are thrilled with the community spirit, enthusiasm and effort shown by all today. Norton is a wonderful town and today's event really highlighted the great spirit of this community," said Lisa Ledwith, director of the Keep Norton Beautiful Committee.
Despite the cold, damp weather and the threat of rain, the Keep Norton Beautiful committee of the Norton Community Task Force reported that event was a huge success with a final count of 385 people volunteering their time.
Over 50 miles of streets were cleaned including Mansfield Avenue, Main Street, Oak Street, Walker Street, N. and S. Worcester Streets. Maple Street., E. and W. Hodges Street, Reservoir Street, Elm Street, S. Washington Street, Dean Street, Newcomb Street and more.
“We drove around supplying people with extra bags,” Ledwith said. “I think we were all amazed at how much trash was out there.”
Over 400 bags of trash were left on the curbs while the three DPW volunteers collected them and other large items after the two hour event. Some unexpected items collected from roadsides included a toilet, tires, a blanket and a jug of oil. The bulk of the roadside litter collected consisted of coffee cups, cigarettes, lottery tickets, bottles, cans and candy wrappers.
I was stationed on N. Washington Street between Cobb Road and Arrowhead Drive. Some noteworthy things I found were a tarp, plastic golf ball, actual golf ball, plastic baseball, cash for junk cars sign, red wagon tire and a box of Monostat 3.
“What was really exciting about this was the fact that community pulled together,” Ledwith said. “We had everyone out there.”
High school students logged over 130 hours of community service-cleaning, helping with speaking to community organizations and the selectmen, material distribution, recruiting, hanging posters, fundraising and more. Students at Henri A. Yelle Elementary School also did their part by creating posters.
With the help of the Norton Kayak Company, high school students from the Championship Track Team even worked the Norton reservoir on kayaks pulling out large items including a bedframe and some large barrels.
Other volunteers included families with children, single people, Norton Senior Center, Chartley Garden Club, Norton Lions Club, Boys Scouts and Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, Brownie and Daisy Troops, high school students from the Norton Task Force, high school tennis teams, Norton 300th Committee, Norton selectmen, tudent volunteers from surrounding communities and State Representative Jay Barrows.
“He [Barrows] has been an amazing supporter of this project,” Ledwith said.
Barrows brought the idea to the community task force and introduced the committee to Neil Rhein, the organizer of the Mansfield cleanup. Barrows also gave a financial donation.
There were also 33 sponsors of the event.
For more photos of the event, visit www.keepnortonbeautiful.com. To share your own on Norton Patch, click the "Upload Photos and Videos" button under the existing photos. To help with next year’s event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.