Op-Ed

Clean up an opportunity to make Ferndale shine

Thousands line Main Street in downtown Ferndale in July, 2014, to watch the Old Settlers Parade. The 2016 parade is 11 a.m. Saturday, July 30.
Thousands line Main Street in downtown Ferndale in July, 2014, to watch the Old Settlers Parade. The 2016 parade is 11 a.m. Saturday, July 30. For The Bellingham Herald

When I jog the streets of Ferndale, I pick up the garbage I see. It’s easy, it’s exercise and to me, it is a reminder that I love our city. I am proud to live, work and serve here.

Recently I was having coffee with our chief of police, Michael Knapp, when he challenged me to envision our city setting aside a period of time in the spring to work together to “clean up the town.” That led to a conversation with the founder of the Ferndale Downtown Association, Bertella Hansen, to dedicate the week before and after our annual downtown cleanup day (May 21) to rally the city to pull the weeds, cut the grass, recycle, and remove the garbage from our neighborhoods.

We plan to make the second half of May an annual tradition of clean up in Ferndale — to make us Ferndale fresh.

We are calling it “Ferndale Fresh,” and it is our vision to make our town shine. I already believe we are the friendliest city – now we can be the freshest! So, join all of us this May as we make our city shine.

We invite you to come downtown to City Hall on May 21, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. We will have a number of downtown projects planned to make the downtown core the best it can be. You can also bring your trash to us. We will have large dumpsters at City Hall that you can use and the ability to take appliances, recycles, computers and electronics. We’ve been doing this for several years now and our citywide cleanup is always a big success.

However, this year, let’s take a wider view and expand our impact. I am often asked, “Jon, why doesn’t the city do better at cleaning up my street!” To that, I say, “Well, you and I are the city, so let’s roll up our sleeves and make this happen!” Take a look at your streets, gutters and corners for trash and debris, let’s make our city green and beautiful. We could even give Lynden a run for its money as the cleanest city in Whatcom. Watch out Mayor Korthuis, we’re coming!

Let’s get everyone involved. I’m calling on all businesses, churches, scouts, service groups to reach out to our neighbors who have trouble moving around to help them clean their yards. We are small community, what a great opportunity to meet our neighbors!

To get into the spirit, we invite you to take a photo of your home, yard, business, or neighborhood. A “before” picture, if you would. Then, once all your clean-up and gardening is complete, send us the extreme makeover “after” shot! Send them to Communications Officer Riley Sweeney at rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org. We will post some of them on the city of Ferndale Facebook page.

We plan to make the second half of May an annual tradition of clean up in Ferndale — to make us Ferndale fresh. This is right before outside graduation parties, summer vacations and weddings. A great time to leave a lasting impression to visitors!

You don’t have to be a mayor, council member or city employee to improve our city. Just pick up the garbage and take care of the basic maintenance around your home, property, or business and the whole city will shine.

Jon Mutchler is mayor of Ferndale. Reach him at 360-927-1881 or JonMutchler@CityofFerndale.org.

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