ESSEX — Volunteers clad in red shirts that said “Stick with Ric!” gathered to clean the streets of Essex on Friday, the eve of one of the most popular festivals in the community every year, Essex Day.

From Mace Avenue to North Marlyn Avenue along Essex Avenue, six volunteers, along with Del. Ric Metzgar, picked up garbage and swept the streets and gutter areas. This was part of an “Adopt-A-Highway” program, in which an individual or group agrees to adopt a section of a county road for litter cleanup at least four times a year.

In July, Metzgar adopted a segment of Essex Avenue, and he invited civic-minded community members to join him in the effort to “beautify Essex” with a cleanup on Friday.

“It is time to clean up Essex, and make it cleaner and greener for investors who are looking at the area,” Metzgar said. “I am pleading with the community to stop the negativity and to start talking positively about Essex, and that starts with cleanups like this.”

Each of the volunteers walked together down both sides of the street, with brooms and trash bags, to carry out the service project. It was Metzgar’s first organized cleanup since he adopted the road.

“It is important for the community to get together and support one another,” volunteer Linda Preece said. “It also helps with morale – when people see us out here cleaning the streets, it makes them feel better about our community.”

Another volunteer Darlene Soter saw the announcement for the service project in the paper, and said it seemed like a great opportunity for her and her granddaughter to help serve the community.

“It is awesome to see everyone participating, especially the kids,” Soter said. “We all need to pitch in and help one another.”

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