Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Library Park and Grounds Community Clean Up Saturday, May 8

Library Park and Grounds Community Clean Up

Saturday, May 8, 2010, 10 am – 3 pm

Volunteers Meet at Fountain at 9:45 am

Gloves, rakes, bags will be provided

Contact: Rebecca Williams
Tel: 908-447-6268; Email: rebelwill7@gmail.com
The Plainfield Public Library is a community treasure, and many of you know that I champion the library and its resources all the time. Unfortunately, those of us who regularly use the library and who are its advocates remain dismayed by the lack of concern on the part of our elected officials regarding its exterior grounds. In addition, unprecedented funding cuts have been made at this most critical time for Plainfield’s residents, who depend on the library for Internet access and community meetings.
I used to live right up the street from the library, as you know, and although I no longer use it as often as before (3-4 times a week--lol!), I continue to be a regular patron. I think that the poor condition of the exterior grounds provides a clue to the city's ill-thought priorities. In addition, the disproportionate cuts to the library's budget demonstrate this even more so. The library is at the center of Plainfield, and those of us who use it regularly champion its resources to all of our friends both inside and outside of the city. The Friends of the Plainfield Public Library volunteer organization does a great job as well at raising charitable contributions.
The real problem, in my view, is that not enough pressure has been brought to bear on the powers-that-be in the administration and on the council to redirect their priorities toward protecting and enhancing the cultural institutions that are the life-blood of any city.
When I went to the last two events at the library, the performance of "The Meeting," and the Jean Mattson photo exhibit, I was struck by how great the interior of the library looked (under the direction of Joe DaRold and staff) in comparison with the exterior.
Residents pay for services here—I know that I expect that my taxes go to pay to keep our parks clean and free from blight—gang tags, broken lights, beer bottles, empty cigarette packs, and other litter. Aside from that, though, there is a larger problem of community involvement in not allowing this kind of deterioration to occur in the first place.
The lack of concern for the area around the library speaks to a larger problem having to do with our city's overall appearance. To that end, I will be leading a community clean-up of Library Park and its grounds on Saturday, May 8th, from 10 am to 3 pm.  Volunteers will gather at the fountain at 9:45 am and we will get to work!  
I would caution, however: our grassroots efforts to beautify the city should not be viewed as a way for elected officials to abdicate the responsibilities of their respective offices, as many have done with regard to the appearance of the city outside of their own comfort areas. The larger question of community apathy is a more difficult one to address—I will be posting my thoughts on that topic over the coming weeks.
All best,

1 comment:

Fleeced by city government said...

Maybe you aren't aware but that park and all of the city-owned parks in Plainfield are maintained by the PMUA. Every household is charged $21 per month for the parks, city-owned buildings, and downtown garbage cans. Check your bill - it's part of the $200 quarterly solid waste charge.