To paraphrase a famous quote by Mark Twain, ‘reports of Carrick's demise have been greatly exaggerated.'
There was several pieces of good news at the latest Carrick Community Council meeting September 10 at Concord Elementary School Auditorium, including a report by Dawn Harder, the organization's Litter Patrol Steward.
She reported that dozens of residents did a thorough job of cleaning up Carrick during the city's Redd-Up campaign last April. Ms. Harder indicated that another Redd-Up campaign is slated for October 10-11 in Carrick.
Children are slated to clean up the grounds around their schools the first day of the campaign with another day of cleaning up in the business district and neighborhoods to take place the following day.
She said the spring litter patrol campaign was a huge success and expects the fall cleanup to be just as successful. She also coordinates general Adopt-A-Block cleanups by residents throughout the year. This was set up through the assistance of Boris Weinstein, a retired Shadyside advertising executive who has started a grass roots campaign (Citizens Against Litter) that has the support of more than 150 community groups throughout the state, including 80 in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Ms. Harder notes the Carrick Community Council is doing its part to keep the neighborhood from deteriorating while also instilling a source of community pride.
Carrick took part in the Redd-Up campaign last spring that involved more than the 12,500 volunteers. More than 200 tons of litter and garbage were collected from 90 city neighborhoods and approximately 100 boroughs and townships in Allegheny and Beaver counties.
The Clean-Up Carrick Event was a huge success, according to Ms. Harder on the website www.CarrickCom-munity.com.
"The turnout was far more than we imagined," she said. "Some people have been doing this for many years, others were first-timers, but it's just awesome how they all care about their community. The enthusiasm is contagious, and it's wonderful how people are finding each other. Strangers are coming up to me and telling me they've been picking up (litter) for a long time and never knew there was anybody else doing this."
She noted the volunteers who took part in the cleanup ranged from kindergartners to teenagers, to senior citizens, college students, white-collar workers and blue collars.
"They came together…for the common goal of making our neighborhood a better place. Everyone is welcome. If you live in Carrick, then Carrick is your home, it belongs to you. What you do or don't do impacts those around you. We are all responsible for our community…We want to create a greater awareness of the periodic Clean-up Events, so that more people are better informed about what's happening. We have started an email list and put up a simple website to aid that effort. We are here to provide a network for, and give recognition to, the people who are already picking up litter."
She is interested in feedback from the public in order to be more aware of the streets that are "little pockets" in Carrick that do not receive the attention the city gives the main business corridor.
Through Mr. Weinstein's "Citizens Against Litter" organization, Ms. Harder has set up an Adopt-A- Block pickup litter system in Carrick.
"The Carrick Adopt-a-Block is a simple, back-to-the-basics, approach to the litter problem," she said. "All we need are three to five volunteer custodians for each block, who will promise to clean a designated area when able. Every night while walking your dog, pick up the litter. Once a week you want to clean, or a few times a month or several days a year, any type of help is welcome. The efforts of all the custodians combined will keep our streets clean year-round."
Adopt-A-Block can be the foundation of any clean neighborhood's fight against blight.
"We want to educate," Ms. Harder said. "We educate our community about all the options and resources available for recycling, hard to dispose items and bulk item assistance. And educate our children about littering and its environmental impact. And function as an outreach to schools and businesses. Basically, promote, inspire, and coordinate anti-litter efforts to create a better Carrick. We are also a clearinghouse for ideas. Tell me what I can do to help you, make things better. Together we can make a difference."
Ms. Harder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-819-0889. There is also a website: www.carricklitterpatrol.com.
"If you want to participate in future Clean-UP events, if you are already picking up on your own, if you have problem areas to report, or just want to voice your concerns about litter, contact [me]," Ms. Harder said. "Adopt a Block Custodians who can be in charge of small sections of Carrick, are needed."
During the spring cleanup campaign, litter was removed from the entire section of Brownsville Road in Carrick as well as from Nobles Lane, Colerain, the bottom of Agnew, the bottom of Madeline, part of Becks Run, and Spencer Streets.
Bob Warnock and the CCAA cleaned Volunteers Field. Carrick High faculty member Cindy Falls and her students cleaned the CHS grounds and its surrounding area. Concord Elementary stashed the trash through the direction of Cindy Holland. And Pittsburgh Roosevelt's 5th grade class, led by Mrs. Trimble and Mr. McGough, collected 16 bags of trash from Brownsville Road and the streets surrounding the school.