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Peter Pan joins city-wide cleanup

Date: 4/27/2010

April 28, 2010.

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Transportation Park, the site of the former Hotel Charles at the corner of Frank B. Murray Street and Main Street, will get a new facelift this spring thanks to the efforts of Peter Pan Bus Lines.

On Wednesday, Bob Schwarz, executive vice president of the bus company, met with City Councilor Melvin Edwards, who also serves as the chair of Keep Springfield Beautiful (KSB), and Mayor Domenic Sarno to announce the firm's commitment to clean up the city-owned property as well as add trees and plantings.

Schwarz also said the company will be cleaning up and landscaping its own properties on Main Street, Liberty Street and East Columbus Avenue.

Schwarz said that while the company has participated before in cleanups, this is the first time it would be working in conjunction with KSB. He said he never realized before how many Peter Pan employees are ardent gardeners and some will be donating plants from their gardens for the effort.

The Peter Pan Bus Terminal and that section of Main Street sees 11,000 people a day, Schwarz noted.

Springfield Arbor Allies, a non-profit group sponsored by the mayor's officer and the Department of Parks, Buildings & Recreation Management, will consult with Peter Pan officials on what kinds of trees should be added to Transportation Park.

Michael Tully, president of Springfield Arbor Allies, explained the purpose of the organization is to strengthen and diversity the city's urban forest.

On May 1, Schwarz said, Peter Pan employees will join with other volunteers for KSB's fourth annual Citywide Cleanup. Edwards explained that on that day volunteers will gather at four sites in the city and then will be asked to help clean up specific areas.

The assembly areas will be the Rebecca Johnson School, the Chestnut Middle School, the Duggan Middle School and the Forest Park Middle School. Edwards said the volunteers will be given gloves, trash bags, a bottle of water and an assignment.

During the most successful cleanup -- Edwards said much depends on the weather that day -- there were 3,000 volunteers who removed 172 tons of trash from the city in a span of four hours. The goal, he said, is to clean 10 streets and four vacant lots in each of the city's neighborhoods.

To volunteer for the cleanup, log on to or call Edwards at 348-8036.

Edwards said he was "ecstatic" to receive Peter Pan's support for the cleanup.

"It's got to be a team effort," he said.

Sarno thanked Peter Pan for being one of the city's "outstanding corporate citizens."

The mayor added that people might ask themselves "What can I do?" The answer, he said, "It's simply picking up trash every day."