My turn

Summer is the time for Lake County to shine

2013-07-12T00:00:00Z Summer is the time for Lake County to shineBy Dave Ryan Times Columnist nwitimes.com
July 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Three weeks have passed since the beginning of the summer solstice June 21, and with our summer well under way, it is now time to shine in Lake County.

Just as the solstice marks the first (and longest) day of summer, and the powerful spring rains have washed away the grit and grime of winter, we have the perfect opportunity to put a gleam on Lake County with a little elbow grease.

In early spring, several mayors and their city councils took the initiative and sponsored neighborhood clean-ups and the curb-side pickup of large, unwieldy items. Additionally, the Lake County Solid Waste District routinely sponsors hazardous waste pick-up days to assist us in getting rid of unwanted paint, household chemicals, and various hard-to-dispose-of items that seem to multiply in our garages.

As we enter mid-July, it is time for us, as homeowners, renters, and shopkeepers, to further these municipal initiatives by picking up a broom, rake and shovel, and cleaning our curbs, sidewalks, and flower beds.

Your individual efforts to boost neighborhood pride will not only make a visual impact on your neighborhood, but also help fight crime. Time and again crime has dropped after neighborhood clean-ups and beautification efforts have taken place. Clean, tidy streets are a sure sign that a community cares.

Often we are faced with the big question — How do we begin to organize a neighborhood clean-up? The answer is simple – start small and don’t expect to clean the entire community in one day or one week.

It will take time, but we can do it , if only one block at a time. Here are some ways to begin the clean-up of your neighborhood:

1) Find your volunteers – a good place to start is with a Neighborhood Watch Program, for these are neighbors, friends, and associates who have a common goal – improving the neighborhood.

2) Choose your site(s) – select one or two target areas that can be cleaned in one day.

3) Determine what supplies are necessary – trash bags, brooms, shovels and gloves, for starters. If you need help, call on your local Home Depot or Walmart manager and he/she can point you in the right direction.

4) Get a partner to assist – nonprofit groups such as Rotary and Lions clubs, local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are always eager to assist local efforts that enhance their communities.

5) Plan your clean-up day – secure a location, such as a community center that can be stocked with trash bags, tools and refreshments.

6) Follow up - To preserve the hard work you have put into your clean-up project, collaborate with city leaders to keep the neighborhood clean with ongoing beautification programs.

7) Finally. . .enjoy your clean community, you deserve it.

Dave Ryan is the executive director of the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at dryan@lakeshorechamber.com or (219) 931-1000.

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