Volunteers in Winlock are getting ready for what is to be the first of several Clean Up the Coop events this Saturday, with the hope of making sure buildings, sidewalks, parks and the community itself end up looking the best they can.
Organized by local businesswoman Viola Chickese, Clean Up the Coop has received an outpouring of support from local organizations such as the Lions Club, the Winlock Christian Fellowship, the City of Winlock, and a number of private citizens in attendance at recent gatherings to plan the event.
“There’s been different people every meeting,” said Chickese, who said she is intending to hold a cleanup event the first week of every month, with an open planning meeting to take place beforehand. “I want people to know what we’re doing in advance.”
On the docket for Saturday, starting at 10 a.m., will be cleaning and replacing street signs, washing fire hydrants, cleaning and painting utility poles, replacing broken planters on the sidewalk, and cleaning up overgrowth, among other projects. A lunch of chilidogs donated by Cedar Village IGA will take place around noon, and work is expected to be done by 2 p.m.
This first group of projects will be taking place in areas between Cowlitz St. and Hemlock St., as well as First St. and Kerron St., with the intent of branching out from the Downtown Core as the cleanup days continue.
“It’s going to be an ongoing project,” said Chickese, who said donations of tools and materials have already been dedicated for the longevity of the group, as well as storage space donated by local property owner Joc Davis to keep such implements organized.
Chickese specifically wanted to acknowledge Brosey’s Hardware for contributing materials to Saturday’s cleanup and said there is still a need for stiff brooms and roofing tools to help clean sidewalks.
She added community groups, such as Clean Up the Coop, can be awarded for their dedication and effort by accessing grant opportunities intended to help support their goals.
“There’s lots of grants out there,” said Chickese, a financial expert by trade, “but you pretty much have to show that you’re a willing town.”
Those wishing to help are invited to meet at the event plaza on Kerron St. by 10 a.m., at which time volunteers will be split into groups and the projects will begin.
The next cleanup day is scheduled for March 8, with a corresponding planning meeting scheduled for Feb. 25 at the Winlock Christian Fellowship. The public is encouraged to attend both.