Help wanted for East Sanford spruce up

Annual block party to target Maple Avenue
Mar. 05, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

The date of the third annual East Sanford Block Party has been set, and city leaders are searching for volunteers willing to get a little dirty.

Dozens of volunteers are needed for the day of cleanup, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 13. The area of focus for the upcoming event is Maple Avenue — with the Sanford Rotary Club coordinating volunteers.

Volunteers have a chance to give back to their community while working alongside their representatives, said Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive.

"It is going to be fun again this year," she said. "Everyone who goes to the block party leaves feeling productive and satisfied."

After a group breakfast, volunteers receive tools and supplies to paint homes, repair porches and spruce up lawns, Olive said. Others get shrubs or trees to plant along the roadside.

"When you back away and look at what has been done, there is just a tremendous feeling of satisfaction," she said.

The block party stems from the Mayor's Housing Task Force, a committee charged with addressing blighted areas in East Sanford, said Sanford-Lee County Community Development Manager Karen Kennedy, who is a task force member.

"Out of that task force came this opportunity to take a street once a year and do the exterior landscaping work," Kennedy said.

The work doesn't require a specific skill set, she said, but is a positive way to give back to the community with like-minded individuals. 

"It's not just cleaning up," Olive said. "It is also giving people who have expressed feeling disenfranchised the incentive to get involved. Many of the people and homeowners we work with come out and help. They are not just allowing us to serve them, but working in the same regard."

The cleanup not only benefits the residents of the neighborhood, Olive said, but also improves outsiders' impression of the area.

Volunteer Coordinator John Ramsperger said the satisfaction of helping others has kept him and other volunteers coming back each year.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to meet and have fellowship with others," he said. "What we are trying to give back to the community that has become blighted in recent years is show we still care. We want to continue to take pride in where we live."

Those interested in learning more about the block party or donating supplies can contact Kennedy at (919) 777-1113. Those interested in volunteering can contact Chad Spivey at (919) 774-1677.

WANT TO GO?

What: East Sanford Block Party, a day of volunteering on Maple Avenue

When: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. April 13

Where: Meet at 8 a.m. at First Congregational Christian Church, located 328 McIver St.

To volunteer: Contact Chad Spivey at (919) 774-1677