Neighborhoods hold post flood clean-up

By Pauline Liu
Neighbors worked side-by-side to clean up their communities for the first, “I Love My Parks” day, which was held Saturday across New York State. The event, which drew thousands of participants, was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo from Albany. While Cuomo centered the clean up on the more than 200 parks and historic sites in the state, locally, residents focused their efforts on removing debris in the aftermath of last August’s flood.

Arkville cleans up     
Arkville Fire Chief Rob Sweeney led nine members of his fire department through a clean up of the flood torn mobile home park on Pavilion Road. The firefighters also removed debris near the bridge on Route 28 and along the stream on Dry Brook Road.

“We had a dumpster donated to Arkville, which we filled to capacity in one day,” said Sweeney. “There was a ton of plastic and vinyl siding from trailers. It was pretty much all in view and it needed to be cleaned up.”

Sad remnants of happier times, including the mangled remains of a mud-caked bicycle and a flood damaged TV set were also tossed into the dumpster.

Knowing that there was a movement to spruce up the area, the Arkville Fire Department wanted to take part. “ We saw the notice in the Catskill (Mountain News) about how they’re cleaning up Fleischmanns and Margaretville,” said Sweeney. “We got hit just as hard as any other community.” Their clean-up efforts actually continued into the next day, when the department was asked to remove a large tarp that had wrapped itself around a tree along Route 28.

Fleischmanns out in force
Separate clean ups in the villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville were organized by Margaretville village board member Iris Meade. According to Meade, who is chairperson of the annual event, the timing of the local clean ups was purely a coincidental and was not tied to Cuomo’s “I Love My Parks” campaign.

“We do this every year, but this one is special because it’s post-flood,” said Meade.

In Fleischmanns, about two dozen volunteers cleaned up along Main Street. They removed flood debris from the grounds around the Northland Motel.  Working alongside new Mayor Todd Pascarella, were a few nonresidents. “It’s about being a community and it shows that someone here is willing to help out,” said Nicole Maughan of Pine Lake, a sophomore at Hartwick College in Oneonta. Jeanne Ellsworth of Roxbury also lent a hand. “I love Fleischmanns,” she said. “I’ve always been intrigued with its past and I just want to see it prosper again.”

Many help in Margaretville  
In Margaretville, several dozen residents turned out to help, including Margaretville Boy Scouts.  The team of several scouts, assisted by adults, cleaned up along the street near the skate park. “It’s really good that a bunch of people came out to volunteer,” said Mike Conroy, 15.  “It never looked this gross before and it used to be so clean,” said Brandon Goodell, 12. Goodell’s father, Daniel, assisted in the clean up and fished out a “Priced Reduced” real estate sign from the stream.

Margaretville Mayor Bill Stanton also took part. He and many other volunteers fanned out across the village. According to Meade, the village donated the use of two village trucks and paid for the dumpsters used in the clean up. She explained that two village employees also volunteered their time.

Scenes from the clean up efforts have been recorded for all to see. Several members of a Brooklyn- based film crew, Lamb’s Rock, followed the volunteers as they worked. Director Jim Mickle explained that portions of what was filmed could wind up in a feature film called, “We Are What We Are.” Read more details about the film in this week’s article by Brian Sweeney.