The community near Grove Park in Elmira came together Tuesday afternoon to clean the trash-ridden tables and grounds left over by a party that nearly picked nothing up and left.
Plastic cups rolled across the cement floors near the littered tables. Burnt aluminum foil and styrofoam bowls were carried by the wind across the pavilion and onto the playground.
“It’s a common site, we see it every day here,” Scott Aspell, an electrical supervisor for the City of Elmira’s Buildings and Grounds, said. “We have several parks in the city that we maintain and unfortunately, we have people that like to leave it like this.”
Leaving it as if the party never finished their meals. Corn was still wrapped in aluminum foil and left on a plate. A leftover tube of ketchup, a bowl of butter and molded macaroni salad sat to rot.
“Would you leave your yard like that if you were having a family picnic? Probably not, these parks should be treated the same way,” Aspell said.
Grove Park doesn’t take reservations at the pavilion until May 24th. Given that it’s still a few weeks out, it’s a party’s responsibility to clean up after themselves.
A security camera hangs on the corner of the pavilion, but Elmira City Police said they’re unsure if there is video from the camera of this particular incident. They say they plan on increasing patrol in parks throughout the area.
The buzz about the leftover food and disregard of garbage cans brought members of the community together to lend a helping hand.
“It starts with the little things,” Russell Cardona, an Elmira resident, said. “If that counts as cleaning up a park around my neighborhood, then I clean up a park.”
And that’s exactly what Cardona and a few other neighbors who geared with gloves and garbage bags did.
Buildings and Grounds members took time off another work project to clean the park’s litter. They said it’s crazy to see this much trash left over from guests.
Nick Grasso, who is running for the first district in the Elmira City Council, posted a Facebook video showing the mess Tuesday morning.
“I was really floored, speechless and very disappointed with what I saw,” Grasso said. “It looked like someone just had a cookout and just up and left everything there for someone else to clean up,” Grasso said.
With the help of a community, Grove Park was transformed back to its pristine state in less than an hour.
Grasso and Elmira’s Buildings and Grounds hopes guests will treat Elmira’s parks better moving forward.
“Respect our parks and recreation areas that make us so unique,” Grasso said.