Cleaning Up the Sugar Creek

Cleaning Up the Sugar Creek
The Paper of Montgomery County
By Candace Rohrman

Couches, tractor and semi tires, refrigerators, car parts and even a large safe.

This isn't the list of a local Goodwill store's reserves, rather it's a sampling of some of the larger things found tossed along Sugar Creek during past cleanups.

However, during the semi-annual cleanup this past Saturday, the dozen or so people involved found more litter than large trash, which was a nice change from past cleanups.

Dick Ristine believes that change is due to more awareness in the community.

" I think maybe the message is getting out that folks need to be better stewards of Sugar Creek," Ristine said.

Ristine, currently resides in Indianapolis, but grew up in Crawfordsville, and still owns property in Montgomery County. Ristine said he has participated in Sugar Creek cleanups for most of his life.

And even though there was still some litter to pick up here and there, Ristine said he was "delighted to find that there is not a lot to pick up today."

Some of the credit for that lack of trash out on the creek has to be given to the Friends of Sugar Creek, as their cleanups have helped get the word out to those in the community. However, some of the credit has to do with the development of Elston Park, Troy Mitchell said.

Mitchell, who works for the City of Crawfordsville, believes having someone come down and maintain the boundaries of the park every couple of weeks prevents people from carrying large items down to the creek like they might have done in the past.

"I think people are just a little more aware of what's going on," Mitchell said. "I think with the help of the cleanups and the Friends of Sugar Creek that people have been becoming more aware."

The combination of awareness and the park development made Saturday's cleanup that much more enjoyable for those who were able to just pick up cans and small wrappers, instead of having to use four people to lift a safe, as had been done in past cleanups.

However, for some just being out on the creek is the reason they got involved with the Friends of Sugar Creek and the cleanups in the first place.

"Just enjoying being out on the creek and's a nice break from the regular work world and things like that," Paul Vasquez said. "Just giving the time to just be out in nature and enjoying the creek is really nice."

Vasquez, who was joined by his wife Charlotte and his young daughter Amelia, has been coming out twice a year for the past two years to help make Sugar Creek beautiful, and is on the board for the Friends of Sugar Creek as well.

One of the largest items found during Saturday's two-hour cleanup was a tractor tire along the creek, a nice break from heavier items in the past. And after the time spent in the off and on rain, all volunteers were treated to a free lunch from Hawg Wild BBQ.