Fall clean up . . . Let’s get it started project

By Linda Urban, Wilkes-Barre City District D (Parsons, Miners Mills, East End, and Heights)

October and November are generally perfect months to get outdoors and clean up, fix-up, and, yes, even plant new shade trees, perennials, and bulbs — the heat and humidity are gone! And, yes, there will be a spring 2015! Our neighborhood is our home. Our homes, whether mortgaged, owned, or leased, should always reflect a sense of pride, as should our curb lawns, yards, and parks.

It doesn’t take much intense labor to keep unsightly trash and trash/recycling barrels out of the view of passersby — hide them, because when not placed out front on our collection day they project often grimy items. If you want to make your home nice-looking at the least, keep the frontal area and the side areas free of weeds, trash, or debris tossed from a vehicle or pedestrian.

Grab a bucket, mild soap, a sponge mop, and a hose — your front porch and windows/screens often need a biannual wash down. If you don’t have a hose hookup to wash down the front of your home, then barter with a neighbor who has one or offer to pay them a few bucks for water usage — if you lease your home, ask your landlord for permission and help — you don’t need a city permit to wash down your home if you or a family member are doing the job yourselves. Cleaning windows and screens makes a huge difference in the street appeal of our homes. If minor repairs or some paint are needed, you can do this after the wash-down task is totally dry.

Curb lawns
If you are the guardian of a dog, be sure to always leash your dog if walking with them and do pick up after them. Carry a bag! More on curb lawns: They can be a tedious grass-cutting job. Think about removing or covering the grassy area or dirt area with anti-weed cover and then . . . plant a shade/street tree if you have the desire and the space. Today’s street trees are genetically modified to serve us in many ways, not to mention cleaning our air and cooling hot sidewalks.

No one should be residing in a run-down, shotty, or messy-looking home. We deserve a nice home because we are paying for it. It’s that simple.

If you don’t want a shade/street tree then try curb lawn stones with perennials, which, if cared for properly, eliminate curb lawn grass cutting (often a weekly task). Ask a nursery pro what tree is best on your street or what perennials/bulbs can be planted in your area.

So, let’s get it started. Let’s all make our homes a place to be proud of. As always, if you lease a home then speak with your landlord about dangerous exterior or interior issues. If you want to clean up insist that they see the purpose — and need. The City of Wilkes-Barre has laws about unsafe and substandard housing, so don’t fear calling your public servants anytime.

Everyone who leases a dwelling deserves to enjoy a warm, clean, and comfortable home. Just because you don’t have a mortgage doesn’t mean you should be forced to live in a messy dwelling. If your landlord is the type who just collects your monthly rent and refuses to clean up or repair lousy windows, foundations, siding, sidewalks, or any normal issue then go further: threaten them with your relocation intentions. Most landlords want long-term, stable, and respectable tenants, so the prospect of losing you as one might shake or rattle their cage.

No one should be residing in a run-down, shotty, or messy-looking home. We deserve a nice home because we are paying for it. It’s that simple.

Our parks
Our parks matter to us, just as our streetscape does, so we all need to care for them as well.

Use trash/recycling bins when disposing of any items, and be sure to inform children that we need to stop littering. If you notice damaged play area equipment inform both the city parks director and the local police. We pay for this equipment and replacing or repairing it is very pricy. And never allow a dangerous park item to go unaddressed. Insist that it be removed or repaired and be sure to follow up with the parks department until it is addressed. Sometimes the parks department is simply not aware of problems.

So, enjoy our PA fall season and let’s all enjoy lovely neighborhoods and parks!

  • Linda Urban
  • Member, Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association Board of Directors

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