Volunteers needed to ‘shine’ up the city

Spring has sprung and Boston is getting primped for its close-up, with neighborhood beautifications taking place citywide throughout April.

The eighth annual Boston Shines event, hosted by the citywide volunteer clean-up group Boston Shines 365, hopes to make the city sparkle on April 29-30. Each year more than 5,000 volunteers have participated, with over 46 tons of garbage removed in 2010.

Clean-ups have been organized for neighborhoods and schools all over Dorchester, where volunteers will sweep, rake, and plant. Although it’s hard to gauge how many people have signed up, it’s expected there’ll be “a lot of people out,” said Christopher English, the Dorchester neighborhood coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

“The Savin Hill Park clean-up is going to be a big one,” he said. A lot of the groups are expecting 20-25 people per [neighborhood].”

Those who volunteer will receive rakes and brooms, along with resources like gloves, trash bags, planting materials and T-shirts.

The Greater Neponset Parks Committee has also organized an annual clean-up on April 30 for Toohig Park, King Street Park, Hemenway Park and Garvey Park, in connection with Boston Shines and the State’s Park Serve Day. The GNPC is hoping to increase last year’s turnout of almost 100 people.

Starting April 1, the city’s daytime street cleaning program is back in action, and cleaning schedules are available on the city of Boston website. Residents can sign up for “no-tow” alerts, which are e-mail reminders for when a specific street is being cleaned.

Last month, Mayor Menino launched an aggressive spring clean-up effort, with Clean Teams dispatched to neighborhoods. Throughout February and March, more than 2,390 potholes were filled by the city’s pothole-filling truck, nicknamed “Potzilla.” The Parks Department has also cleared more than 100 fallen trees and branches.

At 7 a.m. on recycling days from April 25 to May 20, residents can have their leaves and yard waste picked up by Boston Public Works crews. Those who want to participate should leave the debris in large paper leaf bags or barrels labeled “yard waste” and tie branches together with string.

The Office of Neighborhood Services recommends business owners contribute to the cleanup by maintaining and sweeping the sidewalks in front of their stores, but also reporting locations in need of a cleanup that may go unnoticed.

Twice a year, the City of Boston holds drop-off days to get rid of household hazardous waste; this year, residents can take waste like insecticide, paint, motor oil and car batteries to the UMass-Boston Harbor Campus May 7, or to the West Roxbury Public Works Yard June 25.

To volunteer for a Dorchester project or to organize a new cleanup idea, call Christopher English at 617-635-3485.

For a full listing of planned Dorchester clean-up efforts, see story at dotnews.com.