April 22, 2013

Locals pitch in to green up Plattsburgh

By Chris Fasolino

---- — PLATTSBURGH — “We’re here to help others,” 12-year-old Michael Blanchard Leonard said.

That summed up the mission of Green-Up Day, held in Plattsburgh by volunteers from the Advocacy and Resource Center and fraternity Pi Kappa Phi.

“We thought it would be great if a group of guys from college came out with a group of our guys to ‘green-up’ Plattsburgh,” said Mike Kribs, coordinator with the Resource Center (ARC).

The project was also considered an early observance of Earth Day, which is today.


ARC is a nonprofit organization that provides a variety of services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity owns and operates the philanthropic organization Push America, which aims to change the way society views people with disabilities. The fraternity’s SUNY Plattsburgh chapter, Eta Kappa, had reached out to ARC, asking about volunteer opportunities.

A group of about 25 ARC volunteers and about 20 fraternity members met at the Farmers Market Pavilion on Saturday morning and then divided into groups to tackle a variety of projects.

Those efforts included raking grass in the area near City Hall, working along the Saranac River trail, painting the Cumberland Avenue underpass near the footbridge and sweeping along some of the streets.


Nicholas Page, team leader for a group of ARC volunteers, called Green-Up Day a “fantastic idea.”

“We broached it with the guys today and talked about how we need to do these things or we’ll live in a trash-filled world.”

The group voted to participate in the event.

Richie Patrie said he was taking part “for duty and humanity.”

And he was having fun.

Patrie was part of the project to rake and clean the lawn near City Hall. So was Leonard, who added that he enjoyed the event and was happy to help out the community.

“We saw it as an opportunity to help out with a good cause,” said Ray Murtagh, a supervisor with ARC, seeming to echo their sentiments.


The fraternity members were also enthusiastic about the event.

Mark Henrichs, a SUNY Plattsburgh student who was part of the painting crew, said his goal was “to serve and help out the community, and to mingle with new groups and build new relationships.”

“It’s a nice day,” added student Derrick Ruiz, who was undeterred by the strong winds.

“And it’s nice to show what this city’s about.

“People think of Plattsburgh as just a big college town, but when you get down to its roots, it’s a small community,” Ruiz continued.

“We want to keep it clean as much as we can.”