FAIRMONT — About a dozen people turned out on Adams Street Friday to sweep, shovel and spray their way to a more presentable downtown.
“The cheapest and easiest way to make yourself look good is to be clean. We take showers every morning. We fix our hair,” said Tim Liebrecht, executive director of Main Street Fairmont. “That’s what we’re doing for the downtown. We’re washing it up, we’re cleaning it up, and we’re making it look more presentable.”
Now in his sixth month on the job, Liebrecht was part an initiative the agency called “Beautify the Friendly City,” which aims to spruce up the area. The affair was a one-block prelude to a major upcoming beautification event set for Saturday, Oct. 3, in which Liebrecht hopes local residents turn out en mass to help enhance the city’s downtown.
“From my position with Main Street Fairmont, I have the special privilege of making a more boots-on-the-ground impact,” said Liebrecht. “We know we’ve got problems with downtown. We know there are issues. But we also know it’s doing little things that start to add up. We’re just trying to make those incremental improvements in order to create the momentum for bigger things to come.”
Liebrecht was joined by several members of Main Street Fairmont’s board of directors, as well as a local pressure-washing company that donated its services.
“We’ve got a group from our Main Street board working outside today, as well as Mitch Wood and Powerwash Bros, who very kindly have donated their time and efforts to wash the sidewalks,” Liebrecht said. “We take pride in our downtown, so we’re taking ownership of that. We’re starting by cleaning off the sidewalks, washing windows, picking up the trash and doing the little things that make downtown look like a better place.”
Main Street Board President Brenda Giannis had the role of chief window-washer for the day as she soaped and squeegeed storefront windows along Adams Street.
“We live here. And when you live in your home, you want to care of it. We want to be able to attract more economic development. When people drive through downtown, we want them to see we have a nice clean and beautiful town — and that attracts people,” Giannis said.
Giannis said the initiative is focusing on instilling community pride.
“We take pride in our community, especially our beautiful historic downtown, and we need to take care of it. Cleaning it up helps instill pride in our community and makes us all feel better,” she said. “We want people to come down here to shop and eat. You’ve got to take care of where you live.”
Not coincidentally, the clean-up comes only a day before the inaugural Hometown Market, a downtown event set for today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the corner of Adams and Monroe Streets.
Hometown Market will feature farm fresh produce, arts and crafts, music, food vendors and classic cars.
“We thought it was an opportune moment to clean up this area right before the market,” Liebrecht said.
Wood said his company has donated its power-washing services to several area nonprofits, schools, parks and structures during the past year, but he’s been hoping to clean downtown Fairmont’s sidewalks for a while.
“I’ve been wanting to clean these sidewalks for a decade. Before we started, they were filthy, they we disgusting,” Wood said. “If you let a sidewalk or a building go too long without cleaning, the stain sets in and it becomes much harder to clean. Maintenance washes are very important. After we’re finished here today, it will look incredible.”
Wood said his pro bono services are available just for the asking.
“We call it ‘Random Acts of Cleaning.’ It’s our way of giving back to the community. We’ve been cleaning up places all over the Fairmont community for free for over a year now. We have the equipment and expertise that allows us to do in an hour or two what would otherwise take a normal pressure washer two weeks,” Wood said.
He extended the offer to other community projects as well.
“All you’ve got to do is call and ask. We love the community that exists here and we’re excited to be a part of making it a better place. This is our hometown and we want to see it clean,” Wood said.
Liebrecht said he hopes for a large turnout for the next “Beautify the Friendly City” event.
“We’re inviting the public to volunteer. If any civic organization, church or club want to be involved, we’d love that. And if businesses want to donate supplies or materials for the cleanup, they’re more than welcome to do that as well,” he said.
Liebrecht said interested individuals or businesses may help with “Beautify the Friendly City,” by contacting Main Street Fairmont at 304-366-0468 or by emailing email@example.com.