By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — Last year over 200 residents showed up at the Citizens Center and pitched in to make Haverhill a cleaner and more welcoming city. Organizers of the annual Earth Day cleanup event say they want even more residents to come forward this year and help give the city a big spring cleaning.
The city’s annual Earth Day cleanup event will be on April 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and this year’s focus is on neighborhoods.
David LaBrode, a member of Haverhill’s Brightside, said the cleanup is a great opportunity to get out and spruce up the city.
“Whether you are helping out in our downtown area, one of our many neighborhoods, or local parks, it is just a great way to welcome spring and feel good about your city,” he said. “And wouldn’t that be nice after the winter we’ve had?”
LaBrode said the event’s planning committee has been meeting for the past two months in preparation for this year’s clean up. The group recently set up signs around the city announcing the event.
Human Services Director Vincent Ouellette, who helps organize the annual citywide cleanup, said it’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved, including children.
“It teaches children to take care of their environment, and also lays a good foundation as to the importance of caring for your community and not littering,” he said.
Ouellette said that following a typical winter, volunteers are usually out in March to clean areas of the city. But because of all the snow this winter, they didn’t have a chance.
“It left us about a month behind,” he said. “The more people who get involved in our Earth Day cleanup, the better.”
The city invites residents and others who want to help out to start their day with a kickoff event at 8:30 a.m. at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., that will include remarks from the mayor. Participants can pick up T-shirts, trash bags and snacks.
The Citizens Center will serve as the registration and information center for the event. Trash bags, leaf bags and refreshments will be available for the duration of the event.
Volunteers can organize their own neighborhood or park cleanup or can join in another cleanup site identified by the city. All of the cleanup locations are on city property, which includes roadsides. Trash should be put 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 pick up by city workers.
Mayor James Fiorentini said this annual event gives everyone an opportunity to help make the city cleaner by working together to achieve a common goal.
“I want to thank all of the sponsors who support the event, as well as the residents who participate,” Fiorentini said.
Volunteers are encouraged to register online at www.activityreg.com/selectactivity.wcs, which will bring you to the Haverhill Recreation page. Under “Register for Activities,” click on “programs” and look for “2014 City of Haverhill Earth Day Cleanup.” Follow the prompts to sign up to volunteer.
“If you have a particular spot in mind and don’t see it, let us know and start your own location,” LaBrode said. “We hope to get more folks out cleaning up in their respected neighborhoods. I am sure there are locations you may pass by everyday that could use some attention.”
Volunteers and the city have been holding this annual event for at least 20 years. In addition to the city, major sponsors include Haverhill’s Brightside, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Haverhill Bank, Covanta, Magellan Aerospace, Spring Hill Natural Water, Cedar’s Mediterranean Food Inc., Starbucks, Heav’nly Donuts, and Haverhill Beef Company.
More information is available from Dave LaBrode at 978-374-2388, ext. 28, or email@example.com.