The last few state Route 161 cleanup efforts have been something other than stellar in terms of participation.

The last few state Route 161 cleanup efforts have been something other than stellar in terms of participation.

"It's getting lonely out there," admitted SR-161 Task Force chairman Dave Cooper.

He's hoping that the last cleanup of 2010, set for Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon, will reverse that trend in terms of volunteers turning out and set things up nicely for the first event in 2011, once spring rolls around.

Turnout has been poor for the past few cleanups. Cooper even added an unscheduled one in September to help make up for a sparsely attended event in late summer.

Normally these ongoing efforts to remove trash and debris from the shoulders and culverts along a highly visible stretch of East Dublin Granville road in the Northland area are conducted every six weeks, spring through fall, but Cooper said that an intense and tense campaign season led him to delay the final one of the year from late October.

"We bumped it back a week to make it right after the election," Cooper said.

Actually, the task force chairman added, campaign signs generally don't make that much extra work in the week right after an election. Candidates, alerted to the efforts of Northland community leaders to keep SR-161 spruced up, take matters into their own hands, Cooper said.

"They have done a good job in picking up their own," he said.

At least, most of them.

"What we generally find is that the major candidates for the major positions up for election are the ones who do the best job, and that the lesser candidates in terms of notoriety have less of a staff and take the longest time picking their signs up," Cooper said.

The Cleanup Days are presented by the Northland Community Council's Landscaping and Beautification Committee. Support is provided by Keep Columbus Beautiful, the Northland Area Business Association and the NABA SR-161 Task Force.

Volunteers, who are asked to meet behind the Jiffy Lube at 1800 E. Dublin Granville Road at 9 a.m., are provided with bags, gloves, safety vests and pickup tools. They should wear clothing that is bright in color as well as sturdy, waterproof footwear.

Cooper said that he and the other organizers are hoping to have to really dig into the supply of tools and equipment to accommodate the number of volunteers turning out on Nov. 6.

"We'd love to," he said. "The whole image of the Northland area is predicated on what we can do to keep it clean, and we find that an organized effort is better at that than one person at a time. We certainly don't want to discourage individuals ... but on a scheduled pick up like this, the more there are the better. It certainly improves the appearance for not only the people who live here but the people who do business her and shop here.

"We'd like to have as many people show up as possible. We have the equipment to deal with that."

There's one other thing Cooper would love to see: sunshine.

"We are hoping for good weather," he said.

The final cleanup would be postponed in the event of rain.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

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