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Cleanup Day to center on downtown

May 3 is going to be the annual Volunteer Cleanup Day and also the debut of the Ironton in Bloom’s anticipated hanging pots project.

Randy Lilly, the Volunteer Cleanup Day’s co-coordinator, said the idea started in 1999 when Dayton Malleable, the Ironton hospital and Cabletron all closed within months of each other and the city lost 1,200 jobs.

“I just wanted to come up with a way to install a little pride in the city,” he said. “We started out pretty big, we had about 500 people show up.”

Now, Lilly expects to get around 150 people or so, including teenagers from the Ironton High School Honor Society, St. Joseph High School, and the Moose Teen Club as well as the Girl Scouts.

“We are going to clean and mulch much of the downtown area,” Lilly said. Some of the areas include the area by Ironton-Russell Bridge off ramp, the riverfront and spots throughout the business district. “There will be a lot less flower planting this year.”

That is because Ironton in Bloom, which Lilly is a part of, hopes to put up 100 pole planters and 30 hanging baskets throughout the downtown area.

“If we get a good weather forecast, we are going to put the hanging baskets up,” Lilly said. “By Sunday morning, everyone needs to drive downtown and see the difference. But again it’s all dependent on the weather.”

The containers in the downtown and Ironton-Russell Bridge area, as well as along the city limits on State Route 141 and State Route 93. The organization has a contract with someone to water, prune and fertilizer the flowers. The flowers will be on display from May 1 to Oct. 1. Ironton in Bloom will soon be setting up the 30 large pots filled with flowers along Park Avenue as well.

“I think it is going to be an amazing sight,” Lilly said. “If you’re not impressed when you see this, I don’t know what will impress you.”

Volunteer Cleanup Day participants will meet at the corner of Second and Center streets at 9 a.m. Lilly said if someone hasn’t signed up to help, they can just show up at that time.

Ironton in Bloom is looking for volunteers to help disabled and senior citizens by cleaning up around the homes.

Judy Sanders, Ironton in Bloom’s residential committee chairman, said so far 15 people have called and asked for help. Volunteers will mulch, weed and plant around the homes.

“We have some 4-H volunteers, church youth group and school groups volunteer as well as some individuals,” Sanders said. “We have never done this before so we are hoping to have enough volunteers to meet the demand.”

Volunteers will not be mowing or tree shrubs or cut down trees.

“We are not equipped to do that,” she said. “It is youth groups who are doing this and they don’t have the big equipment to do that kind of work.”

A specific day hasn’t been set for the event.

On May 10, Ironton in Bloom will be having a plant exchange in the parking lot of Sharon Baptist Church.

“We are asking everybody, if they thin out their plants or take out some shrubs, come on down,” Sanders said. “This way we can spread our blooms all over town.”

Ironton in Bloom will be selling planters that match the planters downtown.

“It will be the same color scheme and hey, it is the day before Mother’s Day,” she said.

All this work is aiming towards one goal — to make the city look nice, in part because judges will be coming to town.

America in Bloom, the parent organization for Ironton in Bloom, will be coming in July to Ironton to judge the residents’ cleanup efforts.

Once a month from June to October, Ironton in Bloom will highlight a “Yard of the Month.”

“We already have really nice signs to award them and we are ready to award them to residents with really nice yards,” Sanders said.

People wanting to work on Volunteer Cleanup Day can contact Lilly at (740) 646-2239 or email, lillyrs@yahoo.com or Mike Corn at (740) 533-2676. Anyone wanting to work with Ironton in Bloom’s residential committee to help seniors can contact Sanders at (740) 532-2954 or M&M Realty at (740) 532-1272 by May 1.