Cleaning up: Volunteers ready to hit downtown Dover on Nov. 10

DOVER — Anthony Smith and Dr. Chanda Jackson both believe in the power of teamwork, the pride that is associated with beautifying an area and the satisfaction of a job well done.

That is why Mr. Smith, a patrolman first class with the Dover Police Department and the coordinator of the Dover Police Athletic League, and Dr. Jackson, a community engagement specialist with NCALL, are looking forward to hosting a Downtown Community Cleanup on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Patrolman Smith and Dr. Jackson say events like this one are a chance to draw the community closer together.

Patrolman Smith saw the faces of those children who benefitted — and from the volunteers themselves — after they all pitched in to help renovate and beautify the recreational facilities behind the Elizabeth W. Murphey School in late August.

“I ended up coming up with the idea of the Downtown Community Cleanup because of what I saw after our project at the Murphey School,” said Mr. Smith, who has been the coordinator of the Dover PAL for almost half a year.

“One of the biggest things that spurred the idea was finding something meaningful we could do that could follow the Murphey School project.

“I think that if kids and our other volunteers get involved with cleaning up their own surroundings and recycling and helping to beautify the area, that it would bring pride to both them and the residents.”

The Downtown Community Cleanup will bring together volunteers from the Dover community, NCALL and its Restoring Central Dover initiative, Dover Police Department, Delaware Department of Corrections, Delaware State University Police Department and several area businesses.

Dr. Jackson said that any time the city can get a diverse workforce together to work towards a common goal it’s a good thing.

“In order to combat the challenges in our communities, we must work together,” she said. “I think the best part of hosting these kinds of events is the gathering, getting passionate people together with diverse experiences and backgrounds shows that there are still people who care and who want to make a difference.”

Patrolman Smith is expecting between 50 to 60 volunteers for the project but is always willing to add more if anybody else is interested.

On Nov. 10, all the volunteers will meet in the parking lot at the intersection of Mary Street and Queen Street by 9 a.m.

From 9 a.m. until noon, the cleanup teams will work their way south in the downtown area and assist with cleaning up trash, debris, yard waste and more to help improve the appearance of the area.

The community event will take the various teams from Mary Street to West Reed Street (north to south) and from Kirkwood Street to Governors Avenue (west to east).

They plan to cover a five-block by three-block radius over three hours.

“The goal is to help bring pride to the neighborhood and show that we can all work together,” Patrolman Smith said. “With working as one team hopefully we can help to bring pride and beautification to the neighborhood.”

He said that an added benefit of organizing an event such as the cleanup is that he can spread the word about the Dover PAL and let people know what the organization has to offer for the community youth.

Patrolman Smith said he will be going from house-to-house of the neighborhood knocking on doors to let the residents know the cleanup is coming just prior to the event.

Many residents noted that a lack of communication that often exists between the city and them at a recent community safety event.

“To fix the problem of not knowing if they had the information, because many people don’t have computers or the internet, I’ll be going door-to-door in the target area and advise everybody we are going to be doing a cleanup,” said Patrolman Smith.

He added that food will be provided for the teams of volunteers and the workers will be receiving volunteer hours for their schools or organizations.

“This gives the opportunity for kids get involved with the hands-on cleanup of their city and it also allows them to volunteer for a good case,” Patrolman Smith said. “It also helps them realize the importance of keeping their area clean.”

Any groups or individuals interested in volunteering should contact Patrolman Smith at 302-242-2091 or Dr. Jackson at 302-678-9400.

David Clendaniel, chairman of the Safety Work Group for Restoring Central Dover, said he enjoys any event that provides an opportunity to meet with community members and helps them improve their neighborhoods.

“Restoring Central Dover is born out of concerns for downtown safety, not only for residents but also for businesses and economic development,” Mr. Clendaniel said. “We really have made a lot of improvements in downtown Dover.”

 

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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