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Volunteers spiffing up Shannock Valley park Saturday

| Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Shannock Valley Community Park along Route 85 in Rural Valley is about to get a face-lift this weekend, and organizers are hoping volunteers and businesses step up to show support.

Residents Deanna Mitchell and Lillian Bartosiewicz are planning a community volunteer day on Saturday — with a rain day set for Sunday — to spruce up the park before next week's annual Shannock Valley Festival.

Next week will be the town's 25th year hosting the festival, drawing visitors and community members together for a parade and three days filled with food vendors, craft booths, contests, fireworks and other events.

That's one of the reason's Mitchell and Bartosiewicz think the timing is perfect for planning a cleanup day at the site where the festival will be held.

“There are weeds growing up through the river rock and there's graffiti on the concession stands and gazebo,” Mitchell said.

She owns a beauty shop in town and has heard complaints from residents about the park's shabby appearance. So on one of her daily walks in the park with her goldendoodle dog, Vita, she hit upon the idea for a volunteer-run cleanup day.

Rural Valley Councilman Tony Arduini said his board appreciates the initiative.

“They plan to remove graffiti, paint benches and plant flowers,” he said.

But the amount of work that can be done depends on volunteer turnout, Bartosiewicz said.

It also depends on the flow of donations coming in from individuals and businesses to help pay for the cost of materials like mulch, river rock, plants and paint.

“I hope it comes together,” Mitchell said.

There are already 22 who have signed up to volunteer and the Rural Valley Volunteer Fire Department has pitched in by power washing benches in preparation for Saturday's event.

Cleanup begins at 9 a.m. Volunteers should wear appropriate shoes and bring paint brushes and gloves. Mitchell said she hopes this is the first of many community volunteer days.

“I would love to see more organizations get involved in the future,” she said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or

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