It’s no secret that the city and the county don’t always see things the same way. But when it comes to the upcoming Fourth of July all class reunion celebration, members of both the city council and county commission are coming together for a cause they can all get behind: make Ely a beautiful place to return home to.
City of Ely Mayor Melody Van Camp has been a vocal leader in efforts to “beautify” the city through cleanup projects and adding park benches and flower pots to downtown. County Commissioner Richard Howe has been at the fore front of trying to make the upcoming class reunion over the holiday weekend the biggest and most memorable reunion the city has hosted in close to 10 years. Recently to the two officials decided that together, they could combine their efforts and try to recruit as many city and county residents to volunteer their time to help clean up the streets before the thousands of visitors return to their hometown.
“Between the city and the county, we want to work together to make this place look as good as it can for the reunion,” Howe said.
The joint cleanup effort will begin at 8 a.m. starting at the County Park on Sunday. From there, Van Camp hope to have enough volunteers to split into groups to tackle different “problem” areas that need the most attention around town.
“We are going to try and target picking up trash around the railroad, the west end of town, the golf course, the VFW and then some other spots last depending on how things go,” the mayor said.
The two chose those areas because that will be where most of the foot traffic will happen thanks to various planned events.
“We are going to go for the worst first and hit areas where the most people will be. We want them to see this place that they remember as home as a clean place,” Van Camp continued.
Howe said that he is excited to work with Van Camp and other members of the city government because it represents a spirit of cooperation around a shared goal that can sometimes be hard to come by in government.
“There have been differences between us in the past, but this is one thing we can all agree on, because we love this place and we want to make it as clean as we can. Between the city and the county, we want to make a strong effort together to make Ely as presentable as possible,” Howe said.
Mayor Van Camp agreed, joking that that despite not always agreeing with the county commission, her cleanup efforts in the past have never ended at the city county line.
“Everyone that lives in the city, lives in the county. We all need to show some pride and work together and try to get as many people out to help because in the end we all live here. “
Van Camp pointed out that the town of Ruth has already finished their town-wide cleanup and she said that they are “ready.”
The mayor stated when she first took office that one of her main priorities as mayor would be to cleanup the city. Since then, she has organized several community cleanup events and enlisted the help of volunteers to pick up discarded trash and pull weeds on the side of the roads. The mayor said that while the events saw high participation at first, the attendance has dropped recently and that she hopes this Sunday’s cleanup will turn that trend around.