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Keep Mansfield Beautiful Committee Focuses on Cleaning up Town

Committee members share their goals and accomplishments in keeping Mansfield beautiful.

Keep Mansfield Beautiful Committee members Neil Rhein, Jason Todd and David Kobasa discussed the current status of the committee’s efforts for beautification and litter reduction in Mansfield at last week’s committee meeting.

The trio went over their recent accomplishments, like the , as well as their upcoming goals for 2012.

“Through projects like the Great American Cleanup of Mansfield, which is now headed into its fifth year, we’ve already reduced litter dramatically in Mansfield,” Rhein said.

Kobasa said that last year’s cleanup used $40,000 worth of volunteer work hours in only two hours of time and also had a turnout of about 700 volunteers.

Rhein said that this year, the group is focusing more on downtown Mansfield, and want to expand on their , the flowers of which should be coming in during the spring, and also purchase additional trash barrels to help reduce instances of litter.

“We know that there’s a strategic plan underway with Dr. Mullen,” Rhein said. “I went to a couple of those meetings and he mentioned that, according to him, that the Mansfield downtown is the most studied downtown in the state. Someone brought a study to the meeting from 1982 that listed the exact same issues that are listed today. We believe it’s time for town government, businesses and residents to come together and take action to build up the downtown area… We’re willing to help in any way.”

The Trash Can Be Beautiful campaign was another project to help beautify the town. Last year, the KMB committee worked with local artists and volunteers to paint over 37 municipal trash cans in the town, and they said they do not want to stop there.

“A lot of local talent painted up the trash cans,” Todd said. “We put them in key locations throughout town where they get a lot of traffic and keep the area clean of litter.”

The , the beautification of the North Common, the removal of illegal signs, the removal of unused free publication bins, , graffiti removal and the implementation of an adopt a spot program are all recent accomplishments of the group.

“You’re reaching out in a whole number of ways that are really helping our town,” selectman Doug Annino said. “You take pride in your community and go a long way in demonstrating that. Certainly, this makes a big difference if you mention curb appeal. It’s all about curb appeal in anything, sale of a house, sale of a business, coming to a restaurant, coming to the downtown area, first impressions are very important. It’s a really basic thing to pick up your trash.”

Rhein said that the biggest area the group wants to tackle next would be the high school. He said that, although the school has a great number of recycling and waste bins, they are concentrated in such a way that they do not get as much use as they should, especially during a sporting event on the Mansfield gridiron.

“I think we have made some headway with the schools, although I think it’s still a little slower than we would expect,” Kobasa said. “There’s specific spots that you can recycle, but they’re not [dispersed] enough in order to make a huge effort.”

This year’s Great American Cleanup of Mansfield will be on April 28 from 9-11 a.m. To sign up to volunteer, click here.

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