Taking pride in appearances

Annual CLEANIAC clean-up day slated for Saturday

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO This week and next, CLEANIAC, a local volunteer group, is facilitating a series of city-wide park cleanup initiatives, with the most to take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Pictured is Marshalltown Chief of Police Michael Tupper collecting leaves at a past cleanup event.

Being good stewards of the earth and keeping the community’s parks beautiful is the mission of CLEANIAC, a local volunteer group. It is holding its sixth annual city-wide parks cleanup initiative, with the highest number of parks to be cleaned on Saturday morning.

Starting at 9 a.m., and running until noon, volunteers will rake leaves and pick up trash at the following locales: Lawrence Park, 102 N. 22nd St.; Elks Park, 516 N. 3rd St.; Optimist Park, 305 S. 18th Ave.; Glenwood Park, 2601 S. 6th St.; Timber Creek, 609 E. Southridge Road, and the Marshalltown Skatepark, 821 S. 6th St.

“We’ve had really increased participation from the community this year. We’ll have well over 200 people [in totality] help this year,” said CLEANIAC President Dan Engesser. “A total of 14 parks will be cleaned, which is up four from last year.”

He credits the group’s successful school-based presentations for helping inspire younger folks to get involved.

“Part of what we’re doing is going into schools to let children know they have a voice in the environment and how the community looks,” he explained. “We give the kindergartners coloring books.”

Engesser noted local businesses are even competing to see who can have the most employees participate. CLEANIAC’s planning group is in charge of assigning which park a person will clean, taking into account where a person lives. A team member will be on hand at each park, to help oversee the efforts and to hand out gloves and trash bags. People should provide their own rakes. The group is working closely with the Marshalltown Parks and Recreation Department.

“We are very pleased with Dan’s work to help set up and coordinate volunteers for spring cleaning in many of our parks. With limited staff, this volunteer work is very helpful to city park and recreation staff,” said Parks and Rec Director Anne Selness. “We have also been fortunate in the past to have Shiela Kielly coordinate volunteers to care for specific parks for the entire season. We are always looking for people to keep our parks clean and safe and would appreciate anyone’s help who would like to Adopt-A-Park for 2018.”

Those interested in signing up for CLEANIAC events (as an individual or group) can send a message to its Facebook page: facebook.com/CLEANIAC. In the event of inclement weather, the cleanup will be rescheduled for Saturday, April 28.

For general information on ways you can help keep these parks clean year-round, reach out to Selness at (641) 754-5715 or aselness@marshalltown-ia.gov.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at: 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com