Operation Clean Neighborhoods returns to Columbia | Local

Lisa Rohmiller holds a bag of cigarette butts, candy wrappers and other trash in Douglass Park as she laughs with a new acquaintance. Rohmiller, administrative supervisor at Columbia City Utilities, and Verna Laboy, from Boone County Health and Human Services, had not met before Friday. However, the two of them were part of a large group of city workers who volunteered to clean up the city.

Dalynne Holly using a shovel

Dalynne Holly uses a shovel on a Friday in Columbia. “Community involvement is always positive, right? When you see people working who volunteer, and then you have neighbors who see the pride you take in cleaning up and keeping your community looking good … it’s rewarding,” Holly said.

Operation Clean Neighborhoods returned to Columbia on Friday for the first time since COVID-19 halted the project in 2020, making it the 11th event of its kind. The clean-up began at Douglass Park and Park Avenue at 8:30 a.m. and continued on to Wilkes Boulevard.

Rachelle Miller throwing grass

Rachelle Miller throws grass Friday in Columbia. “Just cleaning Columbia [and] making it a better place to live, work and play. It’s better for everyone,” Miller said of volunteering.

Robert Lambers, right, sees a volunteer crossing the street

Robert Lambers, right, watches a volunteer cross the street on Friday in Columbia. The group has finished cleaning on Park Avenue and is moving to start cleaning on Lyon Street.

Marquerll Robinson repaints the pavement

Marquerll Robinson repaints sidewalks Friday in Columbia. Each volunteer is assigned a task and group. Several volunteers worked in the park, picking up trash and mowing the grass.

Tammy Irovic, added a final coat for a freshly painted cross walk

Tammy Irovic, added the final coat for a freshly painted cross walk Friday at Columbia. “We got a lot of enthusiasm from our staff to do this event again and it’s clear from their participation we know they are excited and excited to come to this neighborhood today,” said Leigh Kottwitz, environmental services manager for the city of Columbia.

Ravin Forbis, mowing the grass

Ravin Forbis mows the lawn on a Friday in Columbia. The “street” cleaning crew spread out their duties, having volunteers work all over Park Avenue.

A street sweeper cleans the leftover grass

A street sweeper cleans up leftover grass clippings Friday in Columbia. Many volunteers work for the city of Columbia in various fields and departments and join together for this annual community event.

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