Beautification project in Rantoul planned for spring
RANTOUL – Sonna Iorio of Rantoul took her daily walk for exercise one day last summer and ventured downtown, where she saw a great deal of litter and weeds.
The sight disturbed her enough to ask Joe Bolser, Rantoul Chamber of Commerce executive director, if something could be done. There could, he said, and the result was the formation of Clean-Up Rantoul, an organization aimed at cleaning up the litter.
Clean-Up Rantoul members plan to hold spruce-up/pick-up events in the spring and fall to rid the community of debris, and all are welcome to take part.
The first effort is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon April 12.
Formation of the organization is not to say that all of Rantoul is awash in litter like tumbleweeds rolling down some Western main street.
"Some areas look great and some terrible," Iorio said. "The cleanup effort is designed to make the entire town look better."
Jim Stubblefield, Rantoul Rotary president, said the organization has signed up to clean up U.S. 136 on the village's east side through the state Adopt-A-Highway program. Lincoln's Challenge Academy cadets also clean up U.S. 45 south in Rantoul through Adopt A Highway.
Present at the meeting were representatives from several churches, civic groups and other interested individuals. Iorio said Rantoul high school student council representatives have also pledged to help. Local scouts also expressed interest.
Wednesday Medlen of Community Plus Credit Union said she and three other volunteers from the business have been cleaning up the half mile on Champaign Avenue from Century Boulevard east to just past the high school football field at Chanute Street.
The cleanup effort will be confined to non-residential areas of the community, Iorio said, because the group does not yet have enough help to scour the entire town.
Volunteers will be given trash bags and disposable gloves that are being donated by the village of Rantoul. The village will pick up the filled trash bags, Iorio said.
A pizza and pop party is planned for participants at the Rantoul Recreation Center after the cleanup.
Clean-Up Rantoul members are also asking groups to consider adopting a park for the remainder of the spring and summer, similar to the Adopt-A-Highway program. Parks to be considered are Wabash Park, Bill Seeber Soccer Fields and Park, Maplewood Sports Complex park and the Mary Alice Road Park.
Iorio said the Nazarene church is caring for the Grove Street Park, and Cultivadores has expressed an interest in the Maplewood retention pond area.
Stubblefield said the cleanup will help present a good image for visitors.
"When people come into town that's the first thing they see," he said. "We have people coming in all the time from Gordyville."
Iorio said another meeting of Clean-Up Rantoul will be scheduled prior to the spring clean-up, probably in late March.
Contact Bolser at Rantoul Chamber of Commerce at 893-3323 or e-mail dirmchsi.com for more information.