Brainerd's three neighborhood groups will clean up May 22.
They are not part of a citywide cleanup this year, but the individual neighborhood groups are spring cleaning specific neighborhoods. And they are looking for volunteers in the southeast, northeast and northside residential areas in Brainerd.
Southeast Brainerd Residents Association
Cheryl Wilson, Southeast Brainerd Residents Association secretary, said the group will focus on picking up litter in the streets, alleys and empty lots this year.
Spring cleaning fever is taking hold and three Brainerd neighborhood groups are organizing efforts to spruce up residential areas in the city May 22. Brainerd Dispatch/Renee Richardson
Wilson said construction on Oak Street and a lack of volunteers caused the cleanup efforts to be scaled back. SEBRA, the oldest neighborhood association, has been conducting the cleanups for nine years. As with many projects, a core group of volunteers were relied upon each year. Wilson said one reason the cleanup was scaled back this year is a lack of volunteers capable of hauling large, heavy items, such as appliances.
Originally the group offered to pick up those items for elderly residents and those not physically capable of taking them to the central drop site. But Wilson said more and more residents just called for the pickup service instead of volunteering.
"It just got to be such a huge work load," Wilson said. "If we can get more volunteers that is maybe something we can do next year. ... We'd love to have more volunteers, families and individuals."
Brainerd neighborhoods will clean up individual areas May 22.
Southeast Brainerd Residents Association will register at 9 a.m. in the Harrison Elementary School gym. Cleanup is 9 a.m. to noon with a 12:30 p.m. lunch for volunteers.
Northeast Brainerd Residents Association and Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association will work together 8 a.m. to noon in the Franklin Junior High School parking lot.
SEBRA offers door prizes and contests for the most unusual find for adults and children. PORT youth will assist the cleanup efforts.
Wilson said the reasons behind the neighborhood cleanup efforts remain valid.
"It brings back the camaraderie of the neighborhood and people get to know each other, and they probably would never have met otherwise," Wilson said. "And it's nice the neighborhood takes ownership and responsibility for its own neighborhood and we take pride in that."
Those who cannot be involved may pick up around their own homes or blocks, Wilson said. SEBRA distributed 1,000 flyers around the neighborhood to notify residents.
Northeast Brainerd Residents Association and Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association
The Northeast Brainerd Residents Association and Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association have joined forces this year. Residents of either neighborhood may drop off items at the Franklin Junior High School parking lot.
Scrap metal, appliances, tires (maximum of five car tires per household), brush and leaves will be accepted. Trikes and bikes will be accepted along with good used clothing for the Salvation Army. A wood chipper will be on hand. Electronics will be charged $5 per unit. Household hazardous materials like paint, oil or fluorescent lights will not be accepted.
Pat Gimbel, BNNA president, said after one year as part of a citywide cleanup the groups decided to go back to smaller efforts that retain the neighborhood feeling.
"When it gets to be so huge, it gets to be so impersonal," she said.
Gimbel said the combined northside and northeast neighborhood group efforts will gain from PORT youth and Sentence to Serve help.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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