There’s something different about Allston-Brighton. The irksome graffiti tags are gone (even the ones high up on the sign posts), the sidewalks are litter free and clear of rotting leaves and Allston-Brighton’s parks and monuments are immaculate.
A group of 40 individuals took part in cleaning up, in some cases repainting and repairing, Allston-Brighton’s memorials in honor of Veterans Day.
This crew consisted of Boston College students, Brighton High School ROTC students, District 14 police officers, people from the Public Works Department and politicians such as Councilor Mark Ciommo and Rep. Kevin Honan.
“We’re trying to get the Allston village area cleaned up, it’s an artist’s community and should be aboutart, not graffiti,” said Sergeant O’Hara. “The graffiti was wreaking havoc, lowering the price of housing, just making it look like nobody gave the area any tender loving care. In the overall scheme of things, if the area looks nice, people feel good about it and crime is a little less,”
Everyone gathered at the Veronica Smith Senior Center on Saturday morning, divided into groups of seven or eight and set off to work on their assigned spots. These included the Old South Meeting House in front of the District 14 Police Station, the Veteran’s Memorial statue in Jackson Square at the intersection of Chestnut Hill Avenue and Winship Street, Cunningham Park at the intersection of Sparhawk Street and Cambridge Street, and the New England Holocaust Memorial on Union Street.
The Boston College Neighborhood Center, an organization that encourages positive ties between the college and the community, has been organizing fall clean up drives for many years.
Millie Hollum-McLaughlin, director of the Veronica Smith Senior Center, said, “We’ve hosted the BC cleanup day for many years, but this is the first time so many different groups got involved. It’s a total community effort.”
The BC kids were part of a group called the Appalachia Volunteers.
“We have a ton of kinds in the group,” said senior Andrew Mccue. “It was great to do this for Veteran’s Day. Our group must have collected nine or ten bags of trash.”
One group walked all the way from Sparhawks Street to Allston, cleaning up flyers and stickers and repainting poles and electric boxes.
“We used those long paint rollers and wore big white suits and gloves,” said Molly Foley, a BC sophomore.
“You’ll be surprised at how much graffiti they can get in bizarre places,” said Mark Handley from Ciommo’s office. “We usually run an annual program called ‘Fight the Blight’ during the summer which is a big graffiti cleanup, but we decided to do something special for Veteran’s Day.”
Ciommo and Honan were at the Union Street memorial, which they had cleaned and decorated with American flags.
“This was like a last massive cleanup before the weather turned really bad,” said Ciommo. “This is the first year we’ve put everyone together and made a collaborative effort, to really make an impact.”
“Doing it again next year seems like a great idea,” said Honan. “We do ‘Boston Shines’ in spring and this is a good fall cleaning.”