Maggie Mehr started a new weekly initiative to keep the streets of Newburgh clean from garbage. She launched the weekly cleanups back in February. While the pandemic put it on pause for a period of time, they are now back up and running.
Mehr created the Facebook group Keep Newburgh Beautiful in an effort to bring awareness to the issue. The page states, “We are here to help clean and beautify the streets and neighborhoods, and to help you make your street one you can be proud to live on.”
“I’ve lived in Newburgh for 30 years and raised all four of my kids here,” said Mehr. “But I’m from Colorado and when I grew up there was no trash anywhere.”
Because of her love for Newburgh, she wants to help take care of it through the weekly cleanup initiative.
“The trash makes us look bad,” said Mehr. “It’s something I can do. I can’t solve the bigger problems, but I can get out and show some care and maybe make other people feel like somebody cares.”
Despite COVID-19, Mehr encourages people to come out and acknowledged how it’s “actually the perfect social distance activity.”
“You can’t really stand next to each other and do an efficient job of picking up litter,” said Mehr. “And you have to wear gloves.”
Each Sunday Mehr posts in the Facebook group with information on where the weekly cleanup will take place. The cleanups usually happen on Thursdays between 9 to 11 a.m. However, she is open to changing the time to be more flexible for when other people are available.
Mehr picks the intersection for the week by taking a drive through the City and seeing what could use the most help.
“Everyone spreads out and goes in whatever direction they see and clean the area as best they can,” said Mehr.
Those interested can bring their own bags and gloves if they wish, otherwise Mehr will have gear onsite for those who need it.
Down the line, Mehr is looking into asking for funding for dumpsters where there are bigger cleanup issues.
In the beginning, Mehr was paying to take all of the garbage to the dump herself. However, she reached out to Newburgh’s Department of Public Works (DPW) and asked if she could bring it to them.
Head of DPW, George Garrison, has allowed her to bring the garbage to them and dump it in their dumpster or garbage trucks.
Additionally, Mehr included that if people want to pick up garbage on their own time but can’t afford bags or equipment she will provide it for them and also pick up the garbage collected.
“My whole goal is to encourage people to pick up trash,” said Mehr. “I meet a couple of neighbors every time I’m out there and they’re so encouraged.”
For updates visit the Keep Newburgh Beautiful Facebook group or email firstname.lastname@example.org.