Afew weeks ago, Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima and I met with a prominent real estate investor who had recently visited to walk around Marysville’s downtown and waterfront district. He is a smart entrepreneur who knows a thing or two about what it takes to help revitalize a downtown, because he has done it before.
While he found many favorable traits to match our own community’s vision for downtown, he said that all the large-scale planning to create an urban, pedestrian-friendly downtown are premature if you can’t first address the seemingly insignificant little things first.
Litter is high on that list.
Litter sounds like a simple enough problem to contain, yet all too often, a look around our neighborhoods, businesses, parks, sidewalks and streets says otherwise. Litter is a blight that can drag down neighborhoods, no different than the other community issues we are tackling, such as graffiti, potholes, and yard and building clutter visible from city streets and alleys.
Marysville has been working hard in recent years to inspire community pride through a variety of different actions and initiatives such as our annual Clean Sweep Week, Graffiti Paint Out, and Pride of Marysville Awards that honor residents and business people who take pride in their homes and property. But if we can’t first set a good example for ourselves, how can we create a good first impression for a corporate partner looking to invest, build or relocate here?
We all share in the responsibility.
Keeping Marysville clean is a priority of mine, as well as our residents of Marysville, and we all look forward to seeing Marysville sparkle as the spring season approaches. Here are just a few ways that you can help:
Report litter — the city, through adoption of the state Uniform Litter Control Code and our Park Code, prohibits littering and enables the levying of fines in an effort to promote public cleanliness and clean parks.
Volunteer during Clean Sweep Week this April 21-28 — Clean Sweep is becoming a great tradition. It’s all about establishing civic pride, creating a better quality of life in Marysville and our downtown, and inspiring residents and businesses to take ownership of our neighborhoods not just for one week, but every week. Our goal with Clean Sweep is to create as much visible change as we can in a short period of time, and done successfully, transplant this same approach to other parts of the community. Keep informed regarding more details, coming in March.
During Clean Sweep Week, or any time year-round, start your own self-initiated neighborhood cleanup or community service project any time. The Council budgeted funds for a few neighborhood cleanups in 2013, at locations to be determined.
Adopt-A-Street — The city’s Adopt-A-Street Litter Control Program is a fun, easy and visible way for you and your group to take a direct part in creating a better, more attractive living environment. Your volunteer group or organization agrees to remove litter from an agreed-upon area at least four times a year over a two-year period. We provide the safety vests, hard hats and trash bags, and put up permanent signs recognizing your group as the sponsors. Visit the city website for details or call Public Works at 360-363-8100. If you already have a designated area, plan one of your regular cleanup parties soon.
Pick up after your pet — Marysville has plenty of dog owners, so be sure to voluntarily pick up after your pet. It’s the neighborly thing to do, and it keeps the waste out of local streams and water ways.
City Public Works and Parks maintenance workers do an outstanding job sweeping streets, mowing grass maintaining city properties, alleys and streets, removing graffiti, plantings flowers and other beautification features. But a more attractive and livable city takes everyone pitching in together — citizens, business owners, civic groups, churches and others.
At the end of the day, these good works will contribute to our broader initiative to create a safer, more attractive and inviting downtown to live or play, keep our momentum going on downtown revitalization, and improve the city’s business climate. The impression we make today could be the one that catches the eye of prospective employers looking for a new place to relocate or call home.
Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-363-8091.