Trash piles in the tons after vacant lots targeted in Dayton

Tons of trash were collected in Dayton today in a citywide clean-up that brought residents, church communities, students from local universities and other volunteers together for a common goal.

Thousands of vacant lots located throughout different neighborhoods in the city were targeted. Old tires, worn-out garden hoses, mattresses and trash bags piled up this morning at designated sites, where it will be picked up by the city.

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The effort to clean up the blight in the inner-city has a ripple effect, with people in the community reuniting for a good cause, according to Joel Burton of Simple Street Ministry.

“We have definitely broke a 1,000 out in the streets today. Everybody is turning in really good numbers,” Burton said at the Revival Center Ministries on Oakridge Drive, where volunteers registered and enjoyed a cookout celebration after the work was done at noon.

“Trash is not the issue. The issue is accountability and ownership,” Burton said. “If we all leave it to somebody else, then it’s never going to get done. We have to care for our city ... It’s about unity, and what we’re seeing all across our city is our city wants unity. Our city wants to see a combination of people coming together to serve each other and for greater purpose.”

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The word spread about the event in-large part because of marketing efforts by the local group Dayton Inspires, which has been doing clean-up events throughout Montgomery County since 2015.

Matthew Sliver, who manages Dayton Inspires, said the last clean-up effort in one Dayton neighborhood resulted in 35 tons of trash collected. Volunteers were in 30 neighborhoods around the city on Saturday. Sliver said he expected the effort to lead to at least 70 tons of trash collected.

“I just appreciate seeing people come out and actually giving back to the community,” Sliver said. “We all have jobs. When you see people coming out and giving up their Saturday morning to help out, it means a lot to me. It means a lot to the people who live in this community.”

Matthew’s brother Zack Sliver said he started volunteer clean-up efforts about four years ago when he got out of the U.S. Marine Corps. Zack Sliver said the neighborhoods where homes are abandoned need revitalization and “a little bit of love.”

“Getting college students to a part of town, that have never been here, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve never been over here. Why have I never been over here?’ It breaks down that barrier and it kind of helps build more community,” Zack Sliver said.

University of Dayton student Katie Schulz was among the volunteers with her co-ed business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi.

We were looking at stuff where roots had grown over. There was some dangerous things that we found. I think it’s good that we got it cleaned up,” Schulz said.

The dangerous stuff that was found and collected included broken glass swept up at a playground, a vile of crack cocaine and used hypodermic needles.

Matthew Sliver said Dayton Inspires has clean-up events scheduled through the spring, summer and fall in Montgomery County communities.

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