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Adopting Manchester: One patch at a time
The next time President Obama campaigns in Manchester, he might be tempted to point to a spotless street or public park and tell residents who work in the private sector, “You didn’t clean that.” If an excellent new city initiative succeeds, that comment could provoke someone in the audience to reply, “Actually, Mr. President, I did clean that.”
Manchester has long struggled to preserve a thorough beautification program. Chalk it up to a lack of money or a lack of initiative, but sidewalks go unrepaired, weeds unpicked, litter uncollected, flowers and grass unplanted. It leaves parts of the city looking as though no one cares.
Residents have complained about this for years. City officials respond periodically, but so far no beautification effort has been sustained. That might finally change.
The Department of Public Works’ new Adopt-a-site program has begun. Under the department’s direction, volunteers will be assigned spots to clean and maintain. They might be parks, trails, medians or sections of sidewalk. Businesses can sponsor specific beautification projects. In fact, two businesses — Southern New Hampshire Landscaping and Members First Credit Union — have already become sponsors. School Board member Kathy Staub has taken over the gardening at a small park.
This is exactly the kind of initiative the city has needed, but sadly lacked, for years. Leaders have assumed that if there is no money in the budget to pay city workers to do it, then it cannot get done. That defeatist attitude has allowed bits of pieces of Manchester to fall into disrepair.
Manchester has plenty of people who care deeply about the city and would love to help make it an even nicer place to live. All they’ve lacked is the leadership. It is exciting to think that they might have that at last.
If you are interested in adopting a public space in Manchester, visit www.manchesternh.gov/adopt-a-site to sign up.
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