On Saturday, May 2, 2015, Highland Planning took part in another successful Clean Sweep event. For the past few years, as part of our Street Manager contracts with the City of Rochester, we have joined ranks with our fellow citizens to plant flowers and pick up trash along the commercial corridors where we work. The City of Rochester provides tools, trash bags, water, moral support, lunch, and a tickets to a Red Wings game if you're up for it.
DIDN'T WE JUST DO THIS?
It can be hard to take time out on a Saturday amidst kids sports, errands, and the very serious level of relaxing that we like to happen on weekends. It's also hard to get excited about bending over and picking up cigarette butts and trash for several hours, knowing that someone will inevitably toss something to the curb five minutes later. But the weird thing is, once you get out there, Clean Sweep is a contagiously 'feel good' experience that never disappoints. Mostly because of the people you're working with, but also because, when you finish, the street is visibly renewed.
This year, we were lucky to have sunshine and an amazing number of volunteers from the surrounding neighborhoods. We also had a number of families with young children. Here's the 2015 South Clinton Avenue Clean Sweep crew. Please note there are four Topas in the first photo.
The second photo is Sarah Piciulo, our South Clinton Merchants Association President. She spent the week organizing and buying all the flowers for the planters. Thanks Sarah!
Since Clean Sweep, the yellow and purple flowers in the planters seem to pop as we drive down the street. Our eyes also are trained to pick out cigarette butts and trash. We find ourselves picking up trash and dead heading flowers and watering the planters. We have less tolerance for graffiti and start strategizing about where a Wall\Therapy installation might work. (Hmmm. Maybe *our* building….)
We also keep remembering the stories from the day. Jen's group had a boy named Patrick, who wanted to keep a dead bird that he and his family found while cleaning. That's cute, and also sad and gross. She also had a group of missionaries who didn't know the area, but ended up helping a woman move furniture into her apartment.
South Clinton Avenue is eclectic and gritty, but it's also friendly and inviting. We have come to know all of the merchants, many of the property owners, and quite a few of the neighbors from the adjacent residential neighborhoods. It's one of our favorite corners of the city. We have good reason to like it the way it is, and at the same time we remain serious about making it better every day. What are my good reasons? Here are two of them.