Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) celebrated “Clean Up Akron Month” with more than 3,100 volunteers participating throughout April.

Keep Akron Beautiful’s “Clean Up Akron Month,” established to encourage community members and organizations to take an active role in cleaning up and beautifying the city, enjoyed remarkable involvement across the city, with more than 110 sites being cleaned and improved.

Thousands of volunteers dedicated nearly 13,000 hours throughout the month, removing more than 38,000 pounds of litter and debris throughout various neighborhoods, parks, lakes and school campuses in the city. the volunteers also collected 287 pounds of recyclables as well as 91 scrap tires for recycling. The largest cleanup event took place on Earth Day (April 22) at Summit Lake. Nearly 240 volunteers donated their time to remove 5.5 tons of litter in just three hours! That’s about 550 bags of trash, including bikes, signs, toys and other debris, some even collected directly from the lake.

Nearly 1,400 students cleaned their school campuses and some ventured beyond, such as students from St. Sebastian, who worked to clean up Forest Lodge Park. New equipment, purchased through grant funding from the Ohio EPA, allowed volunteers to make a bigger impact during waterway cleanups this year. Supplies included waders, surface skimming rakes, life vests and rakes with telescopic reach. These supplies allowed volunteers to increase their efficiency in the Summit Lake and Nesmith Lake cleanups.

Among the community groups and businesses participating in cleanups were:

  • Circles Summit County supported the Big Love Festival Event by doing a litter sweep in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Hasenstab Architects, participating for the second year in a row, cleaned Patterson Park.
  • Employees from Hitchcock Fleming and Associates teamed up with Neighborhood Network to cleanup the Middlebury neighborhood.
  • Various Girl Scout Troops cleaned Waters Park
  • Lift Up Ministries Group cleaned Frederick Boulevard to Stoner Avenue
  • CASE PTA Group cleaned up Hardesty Park
  • The Building and Rebuilding Foundation cleaned up Manchester Road
  • The Cascade Locks Park Associated cleaned up Cascade Locks Park.

To celebrate a month of hard work, KAB held a Super Saturday picnic at the Akron Zoo. Volunteers were treated to free lunch, an awards ceremony, and music and entertainment by The Metro Park Leaf, Zippy from The University of Akron and Eco the Blue Heron Mascot. Mayor Dan Horrigan presented a proclamation to KAB, honoring April 2017 as “Clean Up Akron Month.”

Local sponsors included: Acme Fresh Markets, Akron Zoological Park, City of Akron, D-A Specialty Co. Inc., Eat’N Park, GOJO Industries, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., House of LaRose, Keep Akron Beautiful Board of Directors, Schwebel’s Bakery, Sully’s Party Rental, Pepsi-Cola, The Volunteer Center of Summit County, Waste Management of Ohio, and the Ohio EPA.

Check out Keep Akron Beautiful’s Facebook Gallery from the Summit Lake Cleanup here!

Above: Keep Akron Beautiful Executive Director & CEO Jacqui Flaherty-Ricchiuti with her Clean Up Akron Month crew. (Photo by David Lowry)