Chester public works employee Kenny Jones is assisted by Eastern University students Titi Adekeye and Tarek Hamzen.

Chester public works employee Kenny Jones is assisted by Eastern University students Titi Adekeye and Tarek Hamzen.

More than 350 Eastern University freshman and transfer students joined Chester Mayor John Linder, City Council members and the city’s Public Works Department for the Mayor’s Annual Clean-up last Saturday in selected areas of the city.Coordinated by Joy Taylor, constituent services coordinator, with other staff support, the event is held each September with the hope that community residents will participate.

“Today is an opportunity for Chester to galvanize our resources and support all citizens,” Taylor said. “Community clean-ups are needed and we encourage all of our residents to participate.”
Taylor said the city is eager to help residents interested in sponsoring neighborhood clean-up days; for help with that, call Taylor at 610-447-7724.

Linder spent most of the day on the city’s west end at the site of the former Pulaski Middle School. The city has been inundated with complaints from residents complaining about high grass, especially around the former school.

“I am very grateful for all those who helped in this year’s event,” Linder said. “It is important for the Chester community to engage with others from the surrounding communities. It is also important for our residents to assist in the clean-up process. I really don’t want today to be the mayor’s clean-up, but rather the community clean-up.”

In addition to students, Eastern University staff members were also there helping with weeding and debris removal. Megan Acedo, Eastern’s coordinator of student ministries and service learning, said this was the ninth year that Eastern has participated in the clean-up. She added that freshman students take a course their first semester, Introduction to Faith, Reason and Justice, that requires at least 20 hours of community service.
“We are very proud of students who are here today,” said Acedo. “It’s early on a Saturday morning and most of these students are in the process of adjusting to college life. It is our pleasure to partner with the City of Chester.”

Rev. Lessie Harrison, of True Vine Full Gospel Baptist Church, was working with students in the area of 7th St. and Morton Ave. She said the community is very grateful.

“Oh yes, our community is thankful for the help,” said Harrison, who was looking for additional gloves and trash bags. “These students are wonderful to come out here and help our community.”

As clean-up squads finished, large piles of trash, old furniture and yard waste was collected by city workers for disposal.

“We are not obligated to be here,” said Eastern University student Cayley Smith. “There are other opportunities throughout the course of the semester, but we really like coming to Chester to help. As a matter of fact, there are people here from Eastern today who are returning from previous years.” (Purchase a copy of The Chester Spirit to see more photos of this event)

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