Cleanup Day Scheduled For August 2

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One Wilkinsburg neighborhood is tackling the problem of abandoned properties and vacant lots with its second annual neighborhood cleanup day Saturday, August 2. The cleanup will take place on two blocks of Swissvale and Hill avenues, near the former Bell’s Drug Store.

The goal of this year’s cleanup day is not only to beautify but to secure dozens of properties by boarding up doors and windows and painting them in an attractive way. Teams will also be clearing trash, weeds, brush, and small trees from those properties, as well as from nearby vacant lots.

“We received a large number of expressions of gratitude from people all over the borough after last year’s cleanup day,” says elder Drew Gordon of Covenant Fellowship Church on Swissvale Avenue, which is organizing the event. “What meant the most was hearing from neighbors who felt their neighborhood was nicer as well as a little safer,” he says. “We also found that, when we came forward to volunteer, people in borough government were generous in assisting us with whatever they could provide.

“In New York City they found that making small improvements in an area could have a big impact, even bringing down violent crime by 50 percent,” says Gordon. “When people work together and take pride in their neighborhood, small victories can turn into big victories. But our immediate goal is just to make this a nicer place for Wilkinsburg residents to live, work, play, and worship, without having to worry about what goes on in the abandoned properties near them.”

To volunteer for the cleanup day, or for more information, contact Drew Gordon at 412-731-2854.

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