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Downtown clean-up event seeks volunteers

Contributed Photos — A volunteer helps clean-up the downtown area during the first “Team Up to Clean Up” event organized in November of 2020.

Spring cleaning is on its way in Marshalltown.

A clean-up is set for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday with aims to help beautify Marshalltown’s downtown area. Marshalltown Central Business District and the first ward of Marshalltown have partnered to promote and organize the Team Up to Clean Up event, which will focus on cleaning the entire ward one zone encompassing main street, JBS Marshalltown and the Marshalltown Hospital.

Those looking to volunteer can meet at Supermarket Villachuato’s north parking lot beginning at 8:30 a.m. to sign-in. Volunteers can let organizers know what area they’d like to clean up. Trash bags, gloves and masks will be provided, with volunteers encouraged to bring rakes, garden clippers, brooms or anything else to aid in the clean-up. The City of Marshalltown and Junk Relief will be in the area collecting filled trash bags.

Saturday’s clean-up isn’t the first of its kind, and it will not be the last.

In November, the Marshalltown Central Business District organized the first Team Up To Clean Up event bringing out more than 30 community members along with Main Street businesses and organizations to clean up the area.

Volunteers from Junk Relief collect filled trash bags during the first “Team Up to Clean Up” event organized in November of 2020.

Executive Director of Marshalltown Central Business District Deb Millizer said the success of the original event nearly moved her to tears.

“We had a really good turnout,” Millizer said. “The feedback we kept getting was, ‘Why don’t we do this more often? We really need to do this more often.'”

She has heard talk from residents about the downtown needing cleaning, particularly due to the aftermath of the 2018 tornado and 2020 derecho blowing debris into the downtown area.

“There was a little bit of chatter about it, but I think that chatter equates to people caring,” Millizer said.

More Team Up for Clean Up events are in mind for this year, with a second clean-up confirmed and a possible third clean-up in the works.

Millizer hopes the clean-up events can help spread Marshalltown pride.

“We really want people to take pride in the community, and I think when you invest a little bit of elbow grease that really helps to build the pride,” Millizer said.

Ward one city council member Mike Ladehoff was planning a clean-up of his own and when the Marshalltown Central Business District saw his efforts, the two decided to partner up.

He got a call from one of his constituents who brings a trash bag with her everyday when she walks her dog, and returns home with a full bag of trash.

“She called me and said, ‘I don’t think it oughta be this way,'” Ladehoff said.

He said when the snow melts as warmer weather moves in, the spring, trash blowing around in streets, curbs, terrace, and parks becomes apparent.

“I want to build some pride into this,” Ladehoff said. “We ought to be awfully proud of ward one, and we oughta make it look like we’re proud of it too. We’ve been through a lot, but it’s time to get it all snazzy looking.”

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Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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