BY JENNIFER BAILEY
More than 100 volunteers are expected to converge in the downtown area and at the Douglas Discovery Garden near Douglas Park on Saturday.
The volunteers will help with plantings and picking up litter during the 2013 Great American Cleanup day. Shelly Larson, community improvement superintendent with the city, is chairwoman of the event.
She said this is the third year for the Great American Cleanup being downtown. Last year saw about 60 volunteers downtown and also at the Discovery Garden.
“(The volunteers) planted 5,413 plants in four hours,” she said.
“People do it so fast,” Larson said.
Last year also saw the back of some buildings in the downtown area painted. Painting that continues the Walldogs’ murals tradition will occur in September during the Taste of Downtown Danville barbeque competition, Larson said.
This year for the Great American Cleanup, more than 100 volunteers already are signed up. Larson hopes to at least reach 120 volunteers, double from last year.
Volunteers are asked to meet at 8 a.m. at the Danville Public Library. Volunteers working at the Douglas Discovery Garden will meet at the garden at 8 a.m. The event continues to 3 p.m. There will be a lunch for all volunteers at 1 p.m. on the library lawn, 319 N. Vermilion St.
Volunteers are asked to bring gloves and your own trowel or other planting tools, and to stay as long as they can.
Also during the event, there will be a $5,000 landscaping makeover raffle (or $4,000 in cash). One ticket is $25, or five tickets are $100. Only 600 tickets will be sold.
Larson said she’s heard many people say they could use the landscaping makeover due to dead trees and plants from last summer’s drought.
Larson can serve as a consultant for the makeover.
There also will be other landscaping prizes donated by Berry’s Garden Center, Danville Gardens and Sully Schultz Nurseries and other local businesses,
More than half of the raffle tickets have been sold already.
Tickets can be purchased the day of the cleanup or by calling Keep Vermilion County Beautiful executive director Lynn Wolgamot at 260-3483, KVCB board president Jason Toellner at 474-3823 or Larson at 918-1130.
Proceeds go back into KVCB’s beautification grants.
Plantings in the downtown area will occur in all planters and gardens from Main to Seminary streets, on Walnut Street, North Street, in alleys and at the library and war museum.
Larson adds that volunteers who don’t want to participate in planting can help pick up litter. Steve Lane, special services supervisor with the city, is leading those activities.
Volunteers can choose their cleanup location of downtown or Douglas Discovery Garden.
At the Douglas Discovery Garden, 500 Florida St., volunteers will plant trees and spruce up the garden with mulch and other plantings. Mary Stonecipher can be contacted at 497-9191 for more information about volunteering at the garden.
Larson said the cleanup sees garden club members, Master Gardeners and people of all ages. This year, three or four church groups are participating, she added.
“So we’re really excited about that,” Larson said.
Organizers also have tried to make the event more kid-friendly for all the children who want to participate.
Also as part the Saturday event, Vermilion Advantage’s Leadership Tomorrow Class will be starting its redesign project of the Sign Post Forest at Harrison and Vermilion streets, across from the Fischer Theatre.
The Sign Post Forest was created during 2010’s Walldogs murals meet. It mirrors the original started by Danville native, Carl Lindley, in the Yukon Territory in 1942.
“We didn’t like how it looked,” Larson said of the sign post forest as the community service project the class chose. Larson also is with this year’s leadership class.
The class wants to make it an interactive park. Americans with Disabilities Act-approved sidewalks will be put in. Also, there will be a three-rock water fountain, benches and more trees and shrubs added.
Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest annual community improvement program that harnesses the power of more than 4 million volunteers to build vibrant communities, according to KAB’s website.
Each year more than 1,200 affiliates and participating organizations engage volunteers to take action in their communities through programs that deliver positive and lasting impact through events focused on waste reduction, recycling, beautification and community greening.
In 2012, 4.2 million Great American Cleanup volunteers worked to return nearly $230 million in measurable benefits in 20,000 communities across the country.
To volunteer for the Great American Cleanup, call Keep Vermilion County Beautiful at 431-2877 and leave your name, phone number and the number of volunteers in your group.
For tickets for the $5,000 landscaping makeover raffle or $4,000 in cash, contact KVCB executive director Lynn Wolgamot at 260-3483, KVCB board president Jason Toellner at 474-3823 or clean-up chairwoman Shelly Larson at 918-1130.