The task of cleaning up Atlantic City following Hurricane Sandy continued on a recent Wednesday morning, as a small group of volunteers met in the Venice Park area to lend a helping hand.
"I was really impressed by how fast the volunteers and Public Works were getting the trash off the street," Sandy Huber, executive director of the N.J. Clean Communities Council said. "They have done a wonderful job in that town," she said from her offices in Trenton following the day of the cleanup.
As a supplement to the work already done by the Public Works Department, members from the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, including Rebecca Turygan, environmental research assistant and clean communities coordinator, collaborated with the Clean Communities Program to hit the streets.
"It was really interesting to see the cleanup process and how the city is handling the overwhelming amount of work," Turygan said.
The ACUA worker, along with the volunteer group, joined 10 hired local workers to clean up areas of Venice Park, including West Riverside Avenue. These residential areas continue to have enormous amounts of garbage lining the streets, which appears to be the biggest issue, Huber said.
"We brought some supplies down and we tried to determine if they needed more volunteers for a future cleanup. We have a way of mobilizing volunteers if people need them," she said.
Huber said she had just received an email from a resident outside the cleanup area asking to have his trash picked up.
"I want to make sure he gets taken care of," she said.
After meeting Paul Jerkins, Atlantic City's public works director, the group of volunteers helped load debris and clear the streets. Larger and more dangerous piles of trash were taken away via front-end loaders. As some loaded trash into trucks, others swept up leftover materials.
"There was an incredible amount of material out in front of the houses - everything from mattresses, to couches, to TVs, and even one dead cat," Turygan said.
Jerkins, who gave Huber a tour of the city that day, was thankful of the extra time put out by the volunteers.
"It means a lot," he said. "It shows that not only the community, but the extended community of New Jersey and the residents from other areas are equally concerned about Atlantic City as the residents are. … I think it's wonderful."
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