We hear a lot of complaints about the condition of our town. Some are justified, others are the kind of carping that happens in any community. But this month shows the difference between those who just want to complain and people who are genuinely interested in making improvements.
We’re about a week out from the annual Make Ottumwa Shine effort. This year it takes place from May 12-17, with the free landfill day on May 17 for residents of Davis and Wapello counties.
The city says about half of the sites targeted for cleanup already have volunteers who will take care of them. That’s not bad. Businesses, civic organizations and students from several schools have come forward to make Ottumwa a more pleasant place.
But it also means about half of the locations haven’t gotten people yet. More people are needed.
Keeping Ottumwa clean is not a one-day or one-week effort. It’s an ongoing process. There are no excuses for tossing items out of your car window or allowing trash to build up on your property. Insisting that each property look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens is a fool’s game, but it’s not too much to ask that they don’t resemble a salvage yard.
The oft unspoken message of Make Ottumwa Shine is that we can improve. We can make a better impression on the world. It’s about believing in ourselves and changing our home for the better.
Let’s do something special. And let’s start now.