More than 200 people took part in the annual Village Pride, Village Wide cleanup event on Saturday. | Photo: Kyle FitzGerald/Facebook
Monday, April 25, 2016 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 6:51 p.m.
On Saturday, more than 200 people converged on the grounds adjacent to ReUse Depot, 50 Madison St., in Maywood to soak in the sights and sounds of the Proviso East Marching Band and Rev. Elliot Wimbush’s musical odes to the late pop icon Prince.
It was all prelude to the second annual Village Pride, Village Wide festivities, sponsored by the Village of Maywood and the village’s Environmental Beautification Commission. After about an hour of mulling in place, participants — armed with garbage bags, rakes, brooms, gloves and other tools — broke off in teams throughout the village to target specific areas.
Turnout for the April 23 cleanup was twice as large as last year, some of the event’s organizers noted.
“This year, we’re more organized and we’ve got a better turnout of people,” said Kyle FitzGerald, ReUse Depot’s owner. “It’s great. I think it’s starting to catch on.”
In the lead-up to Saturday’s village wide cleanup, commissioners noted that this year’s event would emphasize long-term beautification projects, in addition to the temporary mass cleanup.
FitzGerald did his part by marshalling a team of volunteers to lay a pallet of bricks in front of the village’s municipal building at 40 Madison St.
“This is always an awesome event,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins. “It takes all of the residents to raise a village, to clean a village and to take part in a village. That’s what it’s about. It’s about participating in your government.”
“We’re really excited,” said Laura Lange, the beautification commission’s chairwoman. “We are so pleased with the weather and we couldn’t be more pleased with the people who came out.”
“This is community oriented,” said Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr. “The residents are coming out to clean up their own community. That’s a bigger deal than having someone else do this.”
The event’s organizers also noted that this year, Village Pride included much more robust participation from area schools, with several District 89 and 209 principals, students and administrators in attendance.
“I think this is just awesome,” said D209 Board President Theresa Kelly.
The event also attracted faces new to village government, like recently installed youth commissioner Michael Robinson.
“I’ve been in Maywood for a few years,” he said. “I’m just out here trying to show the youth that we can better our town. I want to show them someone who is closer to their age and experiences that we can do better.”
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th), who was also in attendance, lauded the event’s diversity and its emphasis on the fact that a clean village is the result of daily actions.
“This event is amazing,” he said. “It’s a great initiative. The village has partnered with so many different people. I look forward to coming out every to support it. We need to preach that Village Wide, Village Pride is not just a day, but it’s every day.” VFP