Nearly 100 Volunteers Clean the Ferndale Up

Nearly 100 Volunteers Clean the Ferndale Up

(Crystal A. Proxmire, The Ferndale 115 News, May 15th 2012 edition)

With nearly 100 volunteers, the Ferndale Community Foundation orchestrated a massive city-wide cleanup day on May 12, 2012.
Mayor Dave Coulter was ecstatic about the event.  In a  speech that morning to volunteers he said “This is so uniquely Ferndale.  If the city council or the government decided we would have a cleanup day, my guess is we’d have maybe a dozen people…but as typical in Ferndale the best ideas come from the residents, it’s grassroots, it’s organic, it’s people that have great ideas.  And our job on City Council is just to encourage folks like Matt [Nowaczok] and all of you to do the  things you do!”

Volunteers met at City Hall where they were given bright yellow tee shirts and assigned to groups.  At some of the schools, parents and students planted flowers.  Other volunteers went up and down Ferndale streets picking up trash.

DDA Communications Director Chris Hughes led a group that cleaned near 9 Mile and Woodward. “See this,” she said, “These black spots on the sidewalk are all from gum.  People need to know this.  This is what happens when you spit your gum out on the sidewalk.”  In addition to cleaning some of the gum, the group pulled weeds and picked up litter.

The Woodward Avenue team was surprised by the trash they found.  “It’s all cigarette butts,” said one of the volunteers.  “People are disgusting.”  A debate ensued  over whether cigarette receptacles along Woodward would help keep the city more clean, or if people would still just throw their butts onto the streets and sidewalks.

Councilperson Melanie Piana and former Councilperson Kate Baker were among those cleaning up Martin Road Park on the city’s east side.  “It’s surprising how little there is to clean.  We’ll have to let Byron know what a great job they’re doing,” said Piana, referencing  Director of Public Works Byron Photiades.  When Martin Road Park was clean their team headed over to Hazel Park to do some work in Green Acres.

After a morning of hard work, many teams met up at the WAB for lunch, where they were given a discount on their meal.

Matt Nowaczok, who took the lead on organizing Clean the Ferndale Up, said that 30 bags of trash were collected overall.  He hopes it will be an annual event.  “We are humbled by the response of residents of Ferndale to this event.  We hope everyone had a great time and intend to expand this event in future years,” Nowaczok said.

Find out more about the Ferndale Community Foundation at

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