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Putting a shine on Columbus

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Volunteers cleaned up about 1,300 properties in the city’s 2014 Green Up — Clean Up event, targeting five areas for mowing, debris removal and house maintenance.

About 320 volunteers, many from Cummins Inc., church groups and the city, fanned out Friday and Saturday using edgers, leaf blowers, chain saws and front loaders.

That’s an increase from about 250 volunteers who participated last year, said Clark Greiner, the city’s business development and planning coordinator.

In addition to mowing, some volunteers updated landscaping in green spaces near intersections or helped haul away debris from demolished sheds.

The Green Up — Clean Up event is part of the city’s strategic plan, Advance Columbus, said Mayor Kristen Brown, who was out working with the volunteers.

The cleanup areas were in the Ninth Street, Pence Park and Morningside Park neighborhoods. Volunteers also helped on Eighth Street north to 15th Street and Washington Street east just before Sycamore Street.

Many of the targeted locations consisted of tenant-occupied homes and homes owned by elderly residents who needed help cleaning their properties, the mayor said.

More than 100 residents contacted the city for help, Community Development Director Carl Malysz said, while other houses were added to the work list after being cited in the past for code violations.

The cleanup area covered nearly 325 acres, Greiner said.

The cleanup began Friday at Donner Park, where volunteers offered their services mowing grass, removing trash and appliances, raking leaves, doing exterior repairs and painting, filling in holes with gravel and recycling.

Small teams and a team leader were sent out with city trucks with assigned areas to work on, Greiner said.

City pickup trucks loaded with different tools and tailed by city compactor trucks combed targeted areas that needed help on Saturday, Greiner said.

City garage employees spent most of their shifts Friday and Saturday hauling away trash and debris, the mayor said.

The city began tearing down dilapidated sheds and outbuildings prior to the cleanup, she said.

City crews are still picking up trash and debris in the targeted cleanup areas and won’t have the total trash and debris tonnage collected or the total area covered in miles and acreage from the event for a few days, Greiner said.

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