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Williamstown residents of all ages turned out for a townwide cleanup on Saturday.
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The volunteers who signed up at the start of Saturday's cleanup gather for a group photo before hitting the streets.
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Williamstown Residents Organize Community Pickup

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Several dozen volunteers hit the streets on Saturday morning to help clean up the town.
 
The inaugural town pickup event was part of a statewide effort under the banner Keep Massachusetts Beautiful.
 
The first-year Williamstown version brought an army of volunteers to Field Park at the junction of Routes 2 and 7 to sign in and accept assignments at various locations around town.
 
"I've seen litter to lesser or greater degrees everywhere,” said organizer Anne O'Connor, who serves on the town's Board of Selectmen. "Sometimes, you have to look for it a little bit. From Field Park to Cole Avenue, it's not going to necessarily be laying out on someone's front lawn, but underneath the brush, it's there.”

Being a first-year event, O'Connor said organizers kept things low key, not seeking any kind of corporate sponsorship. The bags were provided by the town of Williamstown, which had a supply on hand from a community pickup held last year in South Williamstown.

Volunteers were asked to leave the bright yellow trash bags at the side of the road for pickup on Monday by the town's Department of Public Works.
 
Word of the event, which O'Connor hopes to make an annual activity, spread through word of mouth and emails directed to local non-profits like the Williamstown Community Chest. Girls from four different local Girl Scout troops also participated.
 
By the end of the day, more than 60 volunteers joined in, and about 30 bags of litter were collected.
 
Overall, participants ranged in age from preschoolers with their parents to retirees. Several Williams College students also were among the initial crews dispatched from the "command center” at Field Park.
 
O'Connor said some volunteers had expressed interest in being sent to a particular neighborhood. Others were assigned on an as-needed basis.
 
"Ideally, you want people to feel like they're stewards of their area or their street,” volunteer Shira Wohlberg said.

Tags: cleanup,   

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Williamstown Panel Looks at Context of Historic Monuments

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

A sign erected by the Williamstown Historical Commission to recognize the site of the 18th Century West Hoosac Fort.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town's newest committee Monday got down to the business of finding ways to talk about the truth of the Village Beautiful's founding.
 
The Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee discussed two historical markers and whether they do more to sanitize that history and marginalize Native Americans than they do to educate the public.
 
Lauren Stevens of the 1753 House Committee told the DIRE Committee that his group has discussed how to properly contextualize one of the highest profile structures in town, a replica of an 18th-century dwelling built in 1953 with period-specific techniques to help celebrate the town's centennial.
 
"Bilal [Ansari] was talking at the Friday afternoon Black Lives Matter rally, and he mentioned in a passing reference to the 1753 House that there were, indeed, people in this area before those being honored by the settlement in 1753," Stevens said.
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