By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Everyone looks forward to spring, especially with the blizzards we’ve suffered this winter, but the warmer weather brings a troubling sight.
Trash — lots of it.
All around town, litter and other debris once buried under snow is visible along sidewalks, in city parks and conservation areas, along shorelines and in other areas.
The city is asking the public to pitch in to make Haverhill look good again.
Officials are hoping residents, merchants and others celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day by participating in an annual citywide cleanup. Volunteers are asked to meet April 20 at 8:30 a.m. at the Citizens Center on Welcome Street for a brief kick-off and to pick up bottled water, snacks and coffee. The first 200 volunteers to register will receive free T-shirts.
The cleanup is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re encouraging anybody who might be thinking about getting involved to get involved this year,” said Denise Johnson, a volunteer member of Haverhill’s Brightside organization.
Brightside is coordinating the spring cleaning in conjunction with the city and the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. The Citizens Center will serve as the registration and information center for the event. Trash bags and leaf bags will be provided and refreshments will be available throughout the day. A limited number of gloves and tools will be available.
Volunteers can organize their own neighborhood or park cleanup, or can assist at another identified cleanup site. All cleanup locations are on city property.
“Even a half-hour of your time will make a difference,” Johnson said. “But it’s important for people to register so we know where all of the locations are. If you see a place such as a sidewalk that needs to be cleaned up, just let us know so we can coordinate the trash pickup with the city’s DPW.”
Past Earth Day cleanup events have made a difference, Johnson said, by helping to promote awareness of the importance of having a clean community.
“I visited the parking lot behind The Tap (restaurant and lounge) recently and didn’t see any trash, which was a very good sign that people are more educated about not littering and care more about where they live and work,” Johnson said.
Trash should be placed into plastic trash bags. Leaves and other yard waste should be put into leaf bags. Branches should be stacked in piles, and sand should be swept into piles and left on the street for pickup by the city.
As visual reminders of the event, volunteers will be setting up signs around the city, noting this year’s cleanup is April 20. Major sponsors of this year’s cleanup include the city, Haverhill’s Brightside, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Haverhill Bank, the Chicken Connection, Covanta, and Magellan Aerospace. Coffee is provided by Starbucks, water is provided by Spring Hill Natural Water and snacks are provided by the Chicken Connection and Cedar Foods.
“I am glad our residents take pride in our city and this event perpetuates our commitment to make our city cleaner and more beautiful,” Mayor James Fiorentini said. “I want to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors for their continued support of this event.”
Volunteers are encouraged to register online by searching for “activityreg haverhill,” which will bring you to the Haverhill Recreation Department’s webpage. Under “Register for Activities,” click on “programs” and look for “2013 City of Haverhill Earth Day Cleanup.” Follow the prompts to sign up to volunteer. More information is available by calling 978-374-2388, ext. 28. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.