Volunteers from Marquette University, MATC, the Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP) and local residents scattered across Clarke Square, equipped with garbage bags, plastic gloves and pickers.
The groups were part of the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative’s (CSNI) “Clean Up Bash,” on Earth Day weekend.
The clean up was held in response to findings from the CSNI neighborhood census, which pointed out that residents were concerned about the appearance of the neighborhood and wanted it cleaned up, according to Veronica Ortiz, housing coordinator for the initiative.
“Our residents indicated that they want to see a beautification of the neighborhood so we’re here today giving residents what they’re asking for,” Ortiz said.
Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity also painted the porches of four homes during the event.
Paul Smith, a coordinator for Habitat, grew up in the neighborhood and was happy to help.
“There’s a great deal of need here, so we’re out here helping our partners in Clarke Square,” Smith said.
Besides just cleaning up, some participants found deeper meaning in the event. For longtime Clarke Square resident Eileen Leinberger, it was about letting people know they have neighbors who care.
“People don’t care to know you, until they know you care,” said Leinberger, whose family roots in the neighborhood go back to the early 1900s.
Eileen was one of more than 100 volunteers at the event, which concluded with music, free lunch and refreshments at Clarke Square Park, 2330 W. Vieau Place.