Cleaning up Van Buren roads

Jim Sollecito despises litter.

In an effort to reduce the amount of trash found along the roads of Van Buren, the 30-year resident has purchased six "No Littering" signs that were recently installed by the Van Buren Highway Department. He encourages you to do the same.

"I have been very concerned for a while about all of the litter that McDonald's customers produce along our roads in the town of Van Buren," he said. "As both a resident and landscaping professional, it offends me when people pollute our community."

In an effort to clean up the roads, Sollecito approached Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes about installing "No Littering" signs in the town. While Sykes was in favor of the idea, the town did not have the funds to purchase the signs, so he referred Sollecito to Highway Superintendent Ed Parks.

"Ed and I agreed that if I bought the signs and paid for half of the posts that the signs needed to go on, then Ed and the highway department would pay for the other half of the posts and would install them," Sollecito said.

Each sign cost $20 and the posts cost $22, for a total of $31 per sign and half-post for Sollecito, who said it was "a bargain if we can keep litter off the streets."

Five of the signs purchased by Sollecito were placed near the McDonald's restaurant on Downer Street and one near the town hall on Van Buren Road. He hopes his efforts will encourage other organizations, businesses and residents to purchase more signs to help keep the town clean.

"We believe this Earth-friendly partnership [between residents and the town] is the first in New York State and we'd like our community and others to join in this effort," Sollecito said.

Coined the PPP - Public and Private Partnership -- the hope is that law enforcement will issue tickets when debris is tossed out car windows and that a good example is set for future generations.

"We need more year round awareness to help clean up the lovely roadsides that we are fortunate to enjoy in the town of Van Buren," Sollecito said.

Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes, left, 30-year Van Buren resident Jim Sollecito, center, and Van Buren Highway Superintendent Ed Parks, right, pose with a new "No Littering" sign, one of six that Parks and Sollecito helped install throughout the town.

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