Dozens assist in hilltop cleanup

STEUBENVILLE – Dozens of residents turned out Saturday to help clean up LaBelle and Pleasant Heights, the city’s two hilltop neighborhoods.

It was the ninth consecutive year for the cleanup, organized by the Hilltop Community Corporation.

“We’ve lived up here about 11 years now,” said HCC President Laura Sirilla, who was accompanied by four of her six children. The two youngest were sick and had stayed home with their dad, she said. “Positive things are happening on the hilltop, and it really makes a difference.”

Cleanups are scheduled twice a year, with gloved volunteers fanning out throughout both neighborhoods to gather trash and debris littering yards and sidewalks. A sizeable contingent from Franciscan University of Steubenville was on hand to help.

Jordan Herboth of Oregon, a senior accounting major, said Franciscan’s student government leaders encourage participation.

“I think it’s important to have an effect on our community,” he said. “I live off campus, and it just bugs me that so many people live in isolation (on campus). I think it’s important to get out here and do what you can.”

Bloomingdale’s Isaac Foldi, a freshman pre-med major, said it’s “a chance for me to give back and try to help the community, which I think is important.”

Gregory Andrews, a senior majoring in history/humanities and Catholic cultures, said he hasn’t missed a fall cleanup since he arrived in Steubenville.

“I believe it’s important to give back to the community one lives in,” he said, “even if it’s just for…four years.”

Peter Brgsma, a freshman majoring in legal studies, said he grew up on the hilltop.

“I came because I live in the area, and I figure I ought to help my neighborhood stay clean,” he said. “My family lives just a few blocks down the street. This neighborhood has been good to us, I’d like to give a little something back.”

Members of the Prodigal Sons Return Household at Franciscan turned out en masse.

“We’re trying to help the community,” senior business major Tom McCartney of Toledo said. “We all live here, too, we might as well give back.”

Josiah Bookwalter, a Virginia resident, previously attended Franciscan and was in town visiting his friends at the Prodigal Sons household. He and his friends said neighborhood residents had thanked them for their help in collecting the trash, which they said included a lot of fast food packaging and remnants, cigarette butts, liquor bottles, beer cans and juice boxes, as well as items they preferred not to enumerate.

“We just talked to a guy, he said they’re having a problem up here with rats and raccoons,” Bookwalter pointed out.

“Maybe someone will see us carrying trash bags and picking up trash,” added sophomore economics major Sean Peters, also of Virginia. “Any little bit we can to do help (is good).”

Senior business major Dillon O’Doherty, a Virginia resident, concedes they could easily have stayed in bed. “We just came out to help the community,” he said. “I’ve been going to school here for four years, I might as well do something for it.”