Residents Clean Trash from "Disgusting" Path
Two Washington Township residents recently volunteered their time to pick up garbage along the path between Woodfield Road and Cleveland Avenue.
The path between Woodfield Road and Cleveland Avenue in Washington Township became a nuisance for residents and officials as garbage and dog feces piled up and a trash can — which had been chained in place — ended up in the brook leading to Schlegel Lake.
Chris Gehringer, a township resident who walks his dog along the path daily, said he got sick of seeing the mess and decided to take action and clean it up. His 10-year-old daughter, Lucie, decided she wanted to help, too.
"I couldn't walk by it anymore," Gehringer said.
The area has attracted trash for years, but the problem escalated when residents started leaving dog feces in the lone trash can on the path, according to Gehringer.
"The garbage can just reeked when you walked by it," Gehringer said.
Then, the trash can was "vandalized repeatedly," according to Mayor Janet Sobkowicz. It was eventually dumped into the brook which crosses beneath the path.
Without a trash can, the situation got worse. Soda cans piled up and even a man who feeds the ducks in Schlegel Lake was leaving behind empty plastic bags. The clean-up filled two "giant" trash bags and the Gehringers also recycled what they could.
"People just throw garbage around all over the place all the time," Gehringer said. "It's terrible."
Since they did their clean-up, Gehringer said trash has started to collect around the path again, but he noticed someone else came along and cleaned some of it.
Officials praised the efforts of residents like Gehringer who volunteer their time.
"We're very fortunate that we have residents who are willing to help out," Mayor Sobkowicz said.
Gehringer said he will likely go back to clean the path at some point. He also has his eye on a secluded area near the library where trash has started to build up.
"If everybody volunteers at some point in their life to do something, stuff gets better," Gehringer said.
Council President Richard Hrbek said he hopes more residents will teach their children to give back to the community.
"People are always willing to complain about stuff and expect someone else to do it," Hrbek said. "If everybody pitched in a little bit, there would be a lot less to complain about."