Volunteers were spreading mulch along the riverfront, at the train station and at the train caboose in Washington. Volunteers were weeding flower beds and pruning bushes at the historic downtown Washington Post Office. They were painting picnic tables and benches at a pocket park on Main Street across the street from Olivino Tasting Bar. They were spraying for weeds and picking up trash throughout downtown.
In the eyes of Downtown Washington Inc.’s Executive Director Tyler King, volunteers were “everywhere” on Saturday. The nonprofit partners annually with the Washington Parks and Recreation Department to organize a community clean-up. This year, 71 volunteers — a record number, according to organizers — participated in the beautification effort.
Among them was first-time volunteer Lynette Tappmeyer, who moved to Washington from Owensville with her husband last fall. As a retiree who enjoys gardening and tending to plants, she said it “wasn’t a sacrifice whatsoever” to participate in the clean-up.
“Washington is such a beautiful community. This gives me the chance to get involved and to help take care of the city,” said Tappmeyer as she deadheaded a rose bush near the downtown post office.
According to Downtown Washington Inc.’s Event and Promotion Specialist Cassidy Lowery, there were a number of first-time volunteers this year.
Among those volunteering on Saturday were members of the Washington Guard ROTC program, staff members from the Washington Target store, members and parent volunteers with Cub Scout Pack 439 and recruiters with the U.S. Army. Volunteers included individuals and families.
Other volunteers were members of the city’s park board, the parks and recreation department and representatives from other departments.
First-time volunteers Sophia Konys and Haley Rombach were among the dozen or so volunteers who mulched flower beds along Front Street. “It is pretty cool to see how many people showed up to help the community,” Konys said. Rombach agreed, saying that she preferred mulching to pulling weeds. Both teens said they would likely participate in future community clean-ups.
That willingness to volunteer in the future was echoed throughout downtown on Saturday, including by first-time volunteers Brynner Frankenberg and Al Lampe. The two men, who volunteered with members of the Washington Fire Department, worked in the flower beds, spreading mulch near the intersection of Jefferson and Fifth streets.
That is welcome news for event organizers like King, Lowery and Bryan Bogue, a member of the Downtown Washington Inc. design committee.
“When we have more volunteers, we are able to tackle things that we hadn’t planned on getting done, so it is a great thing,” Bogue said. “There are not too many ways that you can make this big of an impact in the community in four hours’ time other than this. Getting a bunch of people together to help beautify downtown is a great thing.” Bogue started his morning by painting park benches in the pocket park on Main Street.
Bogue’s painting partner, Lara Conway, agreed. “We all agree this is our neighborhood,” said Conway, who works at Oak & Front Wine Bar and was painting a picnic table on Saturday morning. “It is up to all of us to pitch in to help keep it beautiful.”