Sunday, 15 April 2018 17:15

Volunteers clean up trash and needles in city parks Featured

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BANGOR - The Socialist Party of Maine sponsored Sunday's cleanup, with about a dozen people showing up to get the parks clean in time for spring.

The cleanup effort started at Bangor's Second Street Park. Volunteers also cleaned up trash at a park on Court Street in Bangor.

 

The melting snow revealed that local parks were littered with food wrappers, clothes, needles, and even unwanted furniture.

 

"We just want to make sure that everyone is safe and that they don't have to look at a bunch of garbage when they come to the park with their children or bring their pets," said volunteer Heather Keaton.

 

The cleanup effort was started to clean up needles, but volunteers quickly realized trash was the bigger issue.

 

"I wish we had a time lapse - like a before and after," said volunteer Zach Campbell looking around Second Street Park. "But with ten bags of trash the park looks a lot better."

 

"It's just good to get out here and be proactive and get a good jump start on making sure the parks are safe," said Campbell.

 

For some of the volunteers, the cleanup effort was personal.

 

One woman - who overcame addiction herself - said she used to live up the street with her daughter.

 

"We came to this park almost daily when my daughter was a little baby," said volunteer Evangeline White. She said she used to find needles in the park when her daughter was playing.

 

During Sunday's cleanup, only one needle was found. Volunteers said they found dozens last year when they held a similar cleanup event, so they hope it's a sign addicts are getting the help they need.

 

The Socialist Party members said the cleanup efforts were not political, and they want to see more people volunteer when they have another park cleanup next Sunday.

 

"I would hope that what we're doing today will definitely encourage people to help keep the parks clean," said Keaton.

 

Any needles the group found during their cleanups were taken to Health Equity Alliance, where they'll be properly disposed of.

Kelly Mitchell

Reporter
kmitchell@wvii.com

Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now excited to explore other parts of the state.

She graduated from Suffolk University, where she got her first taste of journalism covering the Boston Marathon bombing trial live from the courtroom. She spent the end of her college career working as a writer at WHDH in Boston.

An avid traveler, she's visited ten countries and used to live in Spain. When not working, Kelly can be found reading with a coffee, out with friends, or wandering by the ocean.

Got a story idea? Reach her at kmitchell@wvii.com or send her a message on twitter at @kmitchell_news.