Hamilton has a new ‘cube’ that’s going to drive neighborhood cleanups

It has become much easier to organize a neighborhood cleanup in Hamilton thanks to a new trailer that is stocked with supplies that can be wheeled up to a cleanup site.

The trailer is called the Community Cleanup Chest, with those three C’s representing of “C to the third power” leading to the nickname of “The Cube,” said Brandon Saurber, director of the city’s Department of Neighborhoods.

“We’re still getting it all settled and organized, but its debut is Saturday,” Saurber said.

That will happen 8 a.m. in Lindenwald, at the intersection of Pleasant and Williams avenues. The public is invited to help with the cleanup, which will take just one hour, until 9 a.m. The green-decorated Cube, which includes shovels, safety vests, garbage bags, gloves, coolers for water and other supplies, will serve as a visual beacon for people to find such cleanups.

Joan Stidham, chairwoman of Hamilton’s 17Strong neighborhood-building organization, believes the Cube will be a community asset in a few ways.

“It really does make it easier to have a neighborhood cleanup, because it saves on prep work,” she said.

Previously, staff would have to go various places to collect all the equipment needed for such events.

“I think the icing on the cake is the fact it’s going to be a visual marketing piece in neighborhoods,” Stidham said. “Because it’s so eye-catching, and so people are going to take notice of this giant green cube, and wonder what’s going on, and what’s it about. It can be its own billboard.”

Among other things, the trailer will have pop-up shade tents that can serve as meeting place and water station.

The trailer cost about $3,000, plus another $1,400 for the decorative wrap that lets people know, among other things, the website they can use to book the cart for their next cleanup.

The trailer was the idea of city neighborhood coordinator Brooke Wells, a former AmeriCorps VISTA member assigned to the city with funding through a Love Your Block grant. That grant also was used to pay for the trailer

“The other thing is, it’s not just about cleaning your neighborhood,” Stidham said. “We’re all about safe, clean and engaged neighborhoods. But, this is really a strategy for engagement because there are a lot of things you can’t do, especially when you’re socially distancing.

“But you can certainly have an organized neighborhood cleanup, and while you’re gathered around, getting supplies, you chat with people who love their neighborhood like you love your neighborhood, and you find out you’re not the only one who thinks that we shouldn’t have to pick up trash but are willing to do it because it’s going to make the neighborhood look better, it’s going to make us more proud of being where we are.”

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