BRISTOL â€“ The cityâ€™s west end is cleaner in 2018 than in recent years, according to a group of volunteers who have collected trash there since 2012.
The West End Associationâ€™s annual cleanup deployed 20 people Sunday, including President Dave Hamlin and Police Chief Brian Gould.
â€śNeighborhood pride is a big thing,â€ť said Hamlin, who has lived in the west end nearly his entire life. â€śIf you start by keeping your property clean your neighbors will see that and is passes on. Itâ€™s an effort to maintain that positive feeling in the neighborhood.â€ť
He also noted that most of the litter volunteers picked up is discarded by travelers passing through the area, not those who call it home.
â€śPeople drop things out of their cars,â€ť Hamlin explained. â€śThe residents wouldnâ€™t do that.â€ť
He and fellow association members encourage local business owners to pick up in front of their storefronts throughout the year. Not everyone follows this counsel, he said.
In the fall city workers are expected to sweep the streets in preparation for the annual Mum Parade, which heads through the west end.
Volunteer Kaye Finnigan lives up the hill from the downtown district.
â€śI drive through the west end a lot and I know a lot of people who live here,â€ť she said. â€śBut you donâ€™t have to live here to care about it.â€ť
The annual cleanup effort has been going on since 2012. In that time, the neighborhoods have improved, Finnigan observed.
â€śEvery year it seems like thereâ€™s less trash to pick up,â€ť she said.
Plainville resident Sarah Johnson used to live in the area and still does business there. These were more than enough reasons to put her work gloves on Sunday.
â€śI still work in the community selling real estate so itâ€™s important to me that we take care of it, and that people have a positive view of it,â€ť she said.
Johnson and Finnigan joined Association Secretary Kelly Stevens in one of seven volunteer crews.
The associationâ€™s mission is centered on spreading neighborhood pride and improving the area. Members planted flowers in pots along the sidewalks just a week before.
â€śIt livens up the area,â€ť Stevens said. â€śWe want to give it a little love so people take pride in their neighborhood.â€ť
Among Sundayâ€™s youngest participants was 16-year-old Kyle Small.
â€śI found out about this from my neighbor,â€ť he said, sweeping around the center margin at the intersection of West and Divinity Streets. â€śI just want to make Bristol look better for the upcoming generation.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.