Dave Cooper has a unique perspective on state Route 161.

Dave Cooper has a unique perspective on state Route 161.

The view from his print shop encompasses a stretch of one of the main corridors leading into the Northland area, and his route to and from work is along what's also known as East Dublin-Granville Road.

So Cooper, chairman of the Northland Area Business Association SR-161 Task Force, is well aware, as the first of a series of organized community cleanups approaches on Saturday, April 21, just how bad the trash accumulation has been over the mild winter and early spring.

The answer: Surprisingly, not all that bad.

"Actually, it's in pretty good condition, and I've noticed that the city has been working on it, as well," Cooper said. "They've had cleanup crews out at intersections, especially freeway intersections."

It's more than that, though, said Cooper, who has been involved in the quarterly Northland Community Cleanup Day on SR-161 for 14 years now.

"We've been very blessed to have some local folks who have already been out and working on cleaning up without any formal schedule," he said. "I think a lot of people are doing that, people who have their own business or work at a business and are cleaning up around there. It's helped the appearance of the community greatly."

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean the formal cleanup days no longer need to exist or that volunteers are no longer required to make them successful.

If anything, Cooper said, having a good turnout for the initial effort helps set the tone for the rest of the schedule, which runs through fall.

The cleanups are designed to remove trash and debris from the medians and shoulders of the corridor between Interstate 71 and Ponderosa Drive before they are mowed.

"We've been very fortunate that usually, the beginning is well-attended, and we hope that it will be this year," Cooper said. "The cleaner we can make the neighborhood, the better it looks; more people feel like they want to live, work and shop here."

The April 21 cleanup will run from 9 a.m. to noon, with those willing to pitch in asked to report to the Sharon Woods Center to the rear of the Jiffy Lube at 1800 E. Dublin-Granville Road, where they will be provided with bags, gloves, safety vests and tools.

Brightly colored clothing and sturdy footwear are recommended.

"There are a lot of folks who do it on a regular basis," Cooper said. "It's part of their routine."

The Northland Community Council puts on the cleanup days with support from Keep Columbus Beautiful, the Northland Area Business Association and the business organizations' SR-161 Task Force.

For more information or to offer to help, call Cooper at 888-2201 or email cleanupday@myncc.org.