FORTVILLE — Fortville Action Inc. spread out a record number of volunteers on Saturday, and if the town looks a little cleaner and has a little more sparkle this spring, it is due largely to the group’s efforts.
The organization, a group of residents dedicated to a more vibrant Fortville, launched Fortville Earth Week on Friday.
This year, Fortville Action members branched out and extended their cleanup activities to Broadway Street and beyond. While their focus has usually centered on downtown, the Broadway Beautification project kicked off Fortville Action’s activities this year by supporting local businesses on Broadway with partial cash reimbursements made on improvements such as mulch, landscaping and planting. That will continue until Saturday, May 31.
“The whole idea, especially after the winter we just had, was to clean up Main Street and Broadway,” Fortville Action Inc. member Bob Sterrett said. “But we also expanded it this year, going to Merrill (Street) and Noel (Lane) and into Landmark Park as far as cleaning up trash.”
Jacob Chaves, 14, was joined by other National Honor Society students from Mt. Vernon as they strolled the alleys and streets looking for trash to pick up as they helped the civic group’s effort.
“We try to do good things,” Jacob said. “We’re just here volunteering.”
As businesses have come to town and begun to revitalize Fortville in the past few years, the work put forth by the volunteers on the clean-up day is less strenuous.
“It seems to kind of take care of itself. It’s not as hard,” Sterrett said. “We used to have to wash a lot of windows because the stores were vacant. We don’t have to do that now.”
The timing of the cleanup was good for the Wednesday Night Cruise-In, a weekly tradition in which owners of classic cars park downtown to show off their cars and check out local businesses. The event just started for the 2014 season and will continue until the weather turns cold again.
“We had that in mind,” Sterrett said. “There’s going to be more and more people coming down and walking the streets. We’re just doing everything we can to make it presentable for them. We’re just making it ready for spring.”
The group also encouraged Fortville residents to get out and clean up their yards and properties on that day.
“It’s been hard because the winter has been so long and spring has been so late in coming,” Fortville Action member Theresa Werking said. “Hopefully, now we’ll get into a stretch where people can get really motivated to get outside.”
On Friday, the day before the townwide cleanup, the town held its annual Arbor Day tree giveaway, distributing close to 500 saplings that included Norway spruce, white pine, tulip, river birch and flowering dogwoods at the Fortville Municipal Building. The town also celebrated its ninth year of being named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Tree City USA program honors cities and towns that have demonstrated a commitment to care for and managing public trees. To be named a Tree City USA, municipalities are required to maintain a tree board or department, have a community tree ordinance, spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrate Arbor Day.
Fortville Action is planning to hang flower pots downtown, likely just ahead of Mother’s Day on May 11.
Cleanup efforts will continue. The Greenfield Banking Co. branch in Fortville will play host to a community shred day at the bank from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The branch is located 111 W. Broadway Street in Fortville.
More information about Fortville Action is available on the web at www.fortvilleactioninc.com or on Facebook at Fortville Action Inc.