Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise
By Elizabeth Dobbins
FITCHBURG — Buildings were painted, facades were replaced and gardens were prepped during the community clean-up led by Crossroads Church, NewVue Communities, ReImagine North of Main and the city Saturday.
“We want to be a force in the community for good,” said Adrian Gates, media director for Crossroads Church on 839 Ashby State Road.
Gates said the outreach event has been put on annually since 2011 and drew about 300 volunteers to 25 projects around the city.
Among them was the replacement the decaying wood on the outside of the empty building on the corner of Main and Oliver Street.
“It was just all nasty looking,” volunteer and Gardner resident Glenn Wallace said. “Rotten,” Westminster resident Kevin Fuller said, pointing to a pile of wood that they had pulled off the building.
By early afternoon, the new siding was almost completely replaced.
Across the street, several volunteers were painting the formerly beige outside of Gallery Sitka (West) red and blue.
“Artists don’t typically like the color beige,” Tricia Pistone said, laughing.
Pistone, project director for ReImagine North of Main, said the organizations involved in the clean-up and residents collaborated to come up with project ideas such as clearing the brush in Lowe Park, painting the gazebo in the Upper Common and planting flowers around the police station.
Gates said the renovation of the library at Reingold Elementary School is the largest of the many projects that were in progress Saturday.
“It’s something special when you get to do it for the kids,” he said.
Pistone said this is not the first time the church has lent a hand to give downtown a facelift. In 2015, among other projects, Crossroads Community Church and partners removed the rust stains from the building where The Local Spot is currently located.
“We really want to do things that can transform an area,” Gates said.