LETTER: Spring cleanup

Letter-to-the-EditorNEWTo the Editor:

There is no doubt that we live in a beautiful and pristine town. So many folks quietly work on beautification efforts; Ms. Deanna Novak, Greenwich Green and Clean, the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce; private businesses like McArdle’s, the First Bank of Greenwich, Pickwick Plaza; we have beautiful schools with gorgeous campuses like Carmel Academy and Camp Gan Israel of Greenwich, Sacred Heart, Whitby and Greenwich Academy. We have religious institutions that are amazing stewards of their very well utilized properties like Temple Sholom and St. Mary’s Church and Greenwich Baptist Church and who can doesn’t adore the crocuses of First Congregational Church? Greenwich boasts stunning parks like Greenwich Commons and Todd’s Point.  As citizens we enjoy consistently well maintained library buildings and, by night, stylish and clean restaurants, like Gabriel’s and Morello’s and Mill Street Grill.

During springtime as we turn our attention to renewal, I find myself also thinking about the one or two eyesores in town, the one or two institutions that need a good ol’ fashion spring cleaning. This list is not to offend anyone, but come on already! Many of these institutions know they have issues and have had them, ah hem, long enough. Time for us, as a community to rally round now and clean them up.

Binney Park and the Eastern Civic Center. It’s time. Time, time, time. Take out budget money from the Old Greenwich Library if you have to (they spend 600K on salaries alone — the most bloated smallest, lowest circulating library in the State of CT). We need to clean up Old Greenwich’s main communal park and civic center now.

The YMCA of Greenwich’s child care center. Dirty, dark, depressing. That’s it. I can’t take it anymore. Let’s get the Greenwich Alliance for Education’s Turkey Trot participants on this NOW.

The playground at Hamilton Avenue School. We need to get serious about this school’s playground. It’s the worst of all the public schools. It needs to match the work and efforts put into North Street School.

Bench at St. Mary’s Park and trash can. There needs to be a no smoking sign put up in this park pronto and a new NO DOGS allowed along with enforcement of cleaning up after one’s pet in this important pocket park used by the Chinese Preschool and dozens of hospital employee families.  Let’s get more imaginative about this park. 40 years ago the Parks and Recreation department would hire park counselors who would teach arts and crafts and supervise casual outdoor play for Pre-K through third graders. Simple is best when it comes to getting kids less scheduled and outside more. Building community does not require spending millions on buildings. Thanks to Ann Romeo for telling me about the “park counselors” that the Parks Department use to hire in her day. Bring them back to Bible Street Park and St. Mary’s Park. Kids need to be encouraged to go outside now not just be chauffeured to after-school program after afterschool program.

The Green thumb award goes to the Western Civic Center. Day or night, this staff keeps this facility clean as a whistle, the bathrooms and the kitchen here are spotless.

Now, we need to call Starbuck’s corporate number and insist that they keep the bathrooms at the Starbucks on Greenwich Avenue clean along with the ever dirty Putnam Avenue/Whole Foods location. For goodness sake take-out the overflowing trash cans in these locations a few times a day. There is no excuse for how dirty these two Starbucks are. And, wash your hands. I never see the staff here do this.

Greenwich Shell on Putnam Avenue gets another shout out along with Balduccis’ vegetable department and Julian Curtiss’ school grounds and front landscaping for being well groomed and a pleasure to visit.

Clean gas stations remind me of my enchanted youth in the 70s.

If you are a business owner or facility manager of a school or public building, I thank you. You are playing a major role in making our town not only lovely but inspiring and uplifting. Beauty, like truth, matters.

Let’s make sure that every childcare facility in town is as lovely as Greenwich Christian Preschool and Chabad of Greenwich’s gorgeous preschool at the main location of the YMCA.

Our kids deserve the world, they deserve a pristine Greenwich. And, thanks to Ron Cavalier for classing up the town with his fantastic statues on loan. You know you rock, Ron.

Jodi Weisz


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