Sprucing up for the bicentennial Serv-A-Thon: Event organizers seek 5,000 volunteers to beautify, repair Baltimore.

April 19, 1997

DURING THE PAST three years, Serv-A-Thon has become a Baltimore springtime tradition.

Each May, hundreds of volunteers spend a day fixing things. They pick up trash and paint. This year, the local event is bigger than ever. Organizers want to enlist 5,000 Baltimoreans to spruce up things for the bicentennial of the city's incorporation.

"We hope this will be a galvanizing event that brings people together," said C. William Struever, president of Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse and a Serv-A-Thon sponsor.

A lot of things will happen in Baltimore on May 3. As Serv-A-Thon volunteers gather for a kick-off rally at the Inner Harbor, the Christopher Columbus Center's new Hall of Exploration will be inaugurated. The day's various activities culminate in an Inner Harbor fireworks display that evening, courtesy of the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.

Although the Serv-A-Thon day is only weeks away, the volunteer event is still evolving. It will have at least 236 projects around the city. Volunteers will plant trees in Patterson Park, create a computer lab at Northern High, paint locker rooms at Northwestern High, fix leaky roofs at Police Athletic League recreation centers, repair playgrounds. There is even talk of an -- effort to clean Mount Auburn, an old African-American cemetery that has fallen victim to neglect, vandalism and mismanagement.

So far, 50 companies and foundations have pledged $500,000 for the May 3 event. This will help finance substantial building repairs and other improvements. Meanwhile, many companies, particularly contractors and architects, are donating services and materials.

Organizers have compiled a wish list for the various projects. Not only are volunteers needed but all kinds of equipment from ladders and paint to trash bags and drop clothes. Hands On Baltimore, the non-profit organization that started the annual Serv-A-Thon, can be contacted at 547-8042. It is a worthwhile project that can make Baltimore shine.

Pub Date: 4/19/97

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