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Local groups work to clean-up Lehigh’s roadways

January 17, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Community Watch Coordinators and Pay-it-Forward Lehigh along with other local organizations hosted the Neighborhood Cleanup in Lehigh on Saturday. Volunteers met at 7:30 a.m. at the Lehigh Acres Christian Church located at 50 Bell Blvd. N. to begin a two-hour clean-up effort.

The group's first event brought good results and prompted volunteers to get out there again in an attempt to get the litter off the streets and roadways.

According to Kristin Schultz, a Community Watch member and concerned citizen, the group was thankful to those who came out.

Article Photos

Robert Bloor picks up litter during the Neighborhood Cleanup in Lehigh Jan. 13.


"The turn-out today was pretty good, but we need more people to get involved," Schultz said.

Schultz's desire to keep her neighborhood clean spurred her to get involved a larger scale.

"I've been cleaning up litter in my neighborhood and it's a shame how much garbage is thrown out onto the streets in Lehigh," Schultz said.

On July 29, 2017, the groups held their first event and focused their efforts on the area of Sunset and Gunnery.

"We had originally planned our second event for September, but the hurricane delayed things," said Schultz. "Our goal is to do these events every couple months and gain momentum and take this to a larger scale."

Potential sites are found by volunteers who scout them out based on the levels of debris and trash found on the roadside.

"We have forms onsite where people can put there area of concern. We then do a drawing to see which site we will focus on next," said Schultz. "This time Milwaukee and Bell were chosen. Both streets are in very bad shape."

In total, 27 people attended this month's event. Among them were Nicole Neace and her three sons Isaac, age 6; Micah, age 8 and Gabriel, age 10.

"I think it's important to get the kids involved and get them to take pride in their community," said Neace.

According to Steve McGiffin, a Community Watch Coordinator, they plan to hold cleanup events similar to this one twice a month.

"We want to continue this throughout the year and keep it going. It's going to take a lot more community involvement to make a dent in the amount of litter found here in Lehigh," said McGiffin.

McGiffin also commented on the growing number of dumping's taking place by people doing demolition and home remodeling work.

"We are getting reports of a lot of people in trucks unloading the remnants from construction projects. Toilets, refrigerators, mattresses, drywall, you name it, we find it," said McGiffin.

According to McGiffin there is a strong correlation between litter and crime.

"Most people don't realize that litter is a gateway to crime," explains McGiffin.

Another topic Community Watch coordinators are concerned about is the illegal parking of tractor trailers in Lehigh.

"Presently we are in talks with (Lee County) Commissioner Frank Mann's office to see how we can change the county's ordinance and pursue stiffer fines for those drivers who chose to disobey the law and park on our streets illegally," said McGiffin.

To get involved in community cleanup efforts, visit the group's Facebook page: Clean Up Events Lehigh Acres or call Steve McGiffin



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