Program helps to beautify community

October 29, 2012

Wayne Allen

Common Staff Writer

Portsmouth Municipal Court along with other city and county agencies has been sending workers throughout the community to pick up litter. Since May community service workers have picked up between 500 and 600 tons of litter from city and county roadways.

On Monday community service workers were cleaning up alley ways of litter brush and various debris.

Kyle McCain, a probation officer and Community Service Director with Portsmouth Municipal Court said cleanup work is being done in conjunction with an east end operational plan developed by Tracy Shearer, Community Development Director.

With cleanup efforts being coordinated through Shearer, Scott Douthat, professor at Shawnee State University and Bob Gambill, local business owner.

“Someone was once quoted as saying we are going to take back our neighborhood one block at a time,” Gambill said, while he was helping the community service workers on Monday. “You just have to start small, we always to a lot of stuff from the top down. We are trying to get everyone together and focus attention on this neighborhood and move outward.”

McCain said the city is looking to identify homeowners that need help with maintenance issues around their home.

“There are CHIP (Community Housing Improvement Program) grants available to homeowners through the city. If approved through Tracy, we can have our workers to help them paint, fix items to help bring their property value up,” McCain said.

He said places like the east end show the continuing need for community service works in this roll.

McCain believes the efforts by Portsmouth Municipal Court Judges Judge Steven L. Mowery and Judge Russell D. Kegley to make this program a reality has made a difference in the community.

“The positive feedback we get for people when we are cleaning up around their neighborhood has been noting but positive. People have brought the workers food and water. I have not gotten one negative comment yet,” McCain said.

He said some of projects the community service workers have been involved with include the cleanup of Rose Street Park.

McCain acknowledged there is a lot of work to be done in cleaning up the community and commented, “there is a lot of work to be done but, we are willing to do it.”

For more information about this program call the environmental health division of the Portsmouth city health department at 740-353-5153.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or