DRC to begin “Don’t Trash Our Dundalk” campaign
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:25

Cleanups and outreach mark anti-trash drive

by Ben Boehl

    As we end February and look forward to some warmer weather in March, the Dundalk Renaissance Corp. (DRC) is already preparing for spring and its annual community clean-ups.
    Before the cleanups arrive, the DRC is kicking off its “Don’t Trash Our Dundalk”  (DTOD) campaign. First, a  free volunteer training session is being held this Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to noon at the DRC office located on 11 Center Place, Suite 1.
    The DRC is teaming up with  the Boston Court Home Owners Association, DunLogan Community Association, Gray Manor & Northshire Community Association, Old Dundalk Neighborhood Association, St. Helena Neighborhood Association and Turner Station Conservation Team.
    Members of the groups will be trained for each community’s outreach day.
   

According to Leah Bunck of the DRC, members of the community are being trained as they will go door-to-door in their communities to talk about trash.
    “The community organization leaders have a target block that has between 100 and 150 homes where they will go door-to-door,” Bunck said.
    The leaders of the community have selected areas in their neighborhoods where they see an issue with trash. Each community has between five and 10 volunteers who will notify and try to educate residents in the area on topics such as proper trash disposal, rat prevention, the benefits of recycling and the impact of trash on the local watershed.
    Bunck said this is a pilot program and the DRC could expand in the future.  Many homes have been given information about the DTOD program, along with a survey.        
    Residents will be approached during the outreach days.
    Going door-to-door to talk with strangers can be unpredictable and intimating, which is addressed at the training session.
    “This will help them have a clear, comfortable conversations with their neighbors,” added Bunck.
    The first outreach day will take place on Saturday March 9 from 10 a.m. to noon in the St. Helena community at the St. Helena community building; in the Gray Manor area at First Lutheran Church of Gray Manor, 212 Oakwood Road and in the Dunlogan community at the High’s store on Dundalk Avenue.
    Old Dundalk volunteers will meet Saturday, March 16 right after the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from 1 to 3 p.m. at the corner of Broadship and Liberty Parkway.
    Glenn Shaffer, vice president of the Old Dundalk Neighborhood Association, said with all the problems of rats and trash in Old Dundalk, the DTOD campaign is the type of program that the community needs.
    “We chose to participate because our membership feels that the ever-growing rat and trash problem within our community is a priority,” Shaffer said.
    “Although initially just a pilot program for a small portion of our association’s footprint, this program will allow us to educate residents on how their handling of trash and management of their premises has a direct effect on the rat population and quality of life in Old Dundalk,” he added.
    Boston Courts will have its outreach day on Wednesday, March 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 631 Villager Circle. Turner Station volunteers will meet on March 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sollers Point Multipurpose Center, 323 Sollers Point Road.
    With all of the concerns of rats and trash, the outreach program has a survey in which residents will be asked questions. This is the first time the DRC has conducted this type of a program, so Bunck is interested to see what type of information the volunteers will collect.
    “We are trying to see what works,” Bunck said about the outreach days. “We are happy to spearhead this, but we need all of the community involved.”
    The effort will culminate with a community-wide cleanup on Saturday, April 6 starting at 9 a.m. Registration will be held — and breakfast will be served — at the St. Helena Community Center from 8 to 8:45 a.m. 
    Then, a Dundalk-wide cleanup will take place along the areas of St. Helena, Merritt, Watersedge, Turner Station and Fleming parks and along the areas of Main Street, Dundalk and Holabird avenues, Merritt Boulevard and Sollers Point Road.
    A week later, on Saturday, April 13, The DRC will hold a “Don’t Trash Our Dundalk” resource fair at the Sollers Point Multipurpose Center, where Baltimore County Code Enforcement will be on hand and there will be activities that teach about clean water, volunteer projects, along with food and entertainment.
    Shirley Gregory of the St. Helena Community Association was able to secure a Ray Lewis autographed football, which is being used to help raise funds for the cleanup effort with the DRC. 
    Gregory was killing time in the Parkville area, so she visited Poplar Jewelry & Pawn. She found the Ray Lewis ball and was originally going to get it for her son, as it was priced at $175.
    She decided not to and Lewis announced his retirement a few weeks later. Then at a DTOD meeting, she recommended that the DRC purchase the item as a way to raise funds to buy trash cans for the community.
    “I thought maybe we can get the Ray Lewis football to luring people in,” Gregory recalled.
    The DRC contacted Poplar and the price jumped to $250 with Lewis’ retirement.
    Gregory said the DRC was hoping to get a slight discount because of their cause, but was expecting to paying some money for the ball. Then Poplar manager Warren Braverman donated the football to the DRC.
    “We were expecting to give $200 for the ball. Warren made a call (to the store owner) and he donated to us,” Gregory said. “I was like ‘wow, that is really cool.’”
    Braverman, who is the manager of both Poplar locations in Parkville and Dundalk, wanted to help out the DRC, since the group is trying to help the community.
    “They were going to pay for it, but I thought we should donate it to them,” Braverman said.
    Raffle tickets for the ball are being sold for $2 each or three for $5. The winning ticket will be selected at the resource fair on April 13.
    “People don’t need to be present to win, but we would still like you to come by and say ‘hey,’” Bunck said.