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Residents band together to beautify the local community

HAMBURG — The town and village of Hamburg and the village of Blasdell are banding together to address the trash and debris that the melting snow has uncovered, and to beautify their local communities, in anticipation of summer.

Nineteen years ago, the Hamburg Rejuvenation Committee and former Councilwoman Kathy Hochul began the town-wide cleanup endeavor in Hamburg, in conjunction with Earth Day. According to Hamburg Rejuvenation Committee Cochair Laura Hahn, the local group joined with national group the Great American Cleanup Campaign in the second year.

Hamburg Village Mayor Thomas Moses Sr. said that the goal of this event is to beautify the community in anticipation of the upcoming warmer weather. “This will give us a great kickoff to get this community picked up, during the spring and summer,” he said.

“This is a great way to bring the community together and get the community involved in their town,” Town Supervisor Steven Walters said. “We are working toward the goal of keeping the town looking great.”

Hahn said that this event, now in its 19th year, is joined by area civic groups, businesses, churches, schools and youth groups. “We started with 35 volunteers the first year, and have grown to over 500 volunteers,” she said.

“The turnout has always been tremendous,” Walters said. “It’s amazing the number of people who turn out to get their hands dirty. It really shows the character of our community and the residents, that we get so many out.”

This year’s town-wide cleanup will begin with an 8:30 a.m. kickoff event at the Hamburg Town Hall on Saturday, May 3. Groups and individual volunteers who do not have specific assignments will be able to pick up supplies at that kickoff meeting and either choose a particular area that needs cleaning, or have one assigned to them.

Moses said that some groups have already prepared to work on specific projects. That includes Imagine:Hamburg’s development on the flower beds at the youth center, with some local Scouting groups. Members of the local Wesleyan church will tackle beautifying the playground at the community center.

Additional Boy and Girl Scout groups will receive various assignments at the town hall and work their way through Hamburg, while students from Frontier High School will head to the beach for the morning.

“Our goal is to make Hamburg, as well as the villages of Hamburg and Blasdell, a cleaner, better place to live,” Hahn said. “This event provides a great opportunity for people to become involved in their community and make a difference.”

After putting their hands to the grindstone for the morning, all volunteers will be treated to a free hot dog lunch at 11 a.m. Moses explained that these refreshments are a way of saying thank you to the volunteers who gave their time to help Hamburg and Blasdell in an endeavor he called “great news” for those communities.

“We thank the people for coming out and volunteering for their community,” the mayor added. “Hopefully, it will give people a reminder to pick up, when they see things on the street.”

Those who are interested in participating can show up to the town hall kickoff meeting on the morning of May 3, where they will receive their assignments, maps, safety instructions, bags and gloves. To register a group, call Barb Dole at 627-3670 or Hamburg Town Clerk Cathy Rybczynski at 649-6111 ext. 2361.

“Like anything, it started small, but it’s grown and now people look forward to it,” Walters said. “It’s like the unofficial start of the warm weather. The weather’s turning. It’s time to clean up the town.”

The Hamburg Town Hall is located at 6100 S. Park Ave. in Hamburg.

This event, which is being put on by the Hamburg Rejuvenation Committee, the town of Hamburg and the villages of Blasdell and Hamburg, is being sponsored by Wegmans, Sahlen’s, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Braymiller Market Inc., Classic Awnings & Party Tents, Wal-Mart, the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg, Tops Friendly Markets and PepsiCo Inc.

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