PDT Staff Writer
“Why?” That’s the first question one might have had if they saw Jeff Albrecht, owner of the Holiday Inn in Portsmouth, and his staff with lawn mowers, weed eaters, rakes and trash bags, cleaning up the Fourth Street Municipal parking lot in Portsmouth.
“Because we love our community and our city, and we just feel like we want this to look as good as it can,” Albrecht said. “I’ve had the opportunity to bring some people to town in the last 3-4 weeks to try to promote some new businesses and jobs, and quite frankly the condition of things has been a little detrimental to that effort. SWo what we want to do, at least in our area here, close to my office and the Holiday Inn, we want to take a step to make it look better.”
Albrecht said it is that general area he wants to develop with a project that would bring in stores and restaurants that would draw Shawnee State University students, faculty, and citizens of southern Ohio.
“I just want to make it look as good as I can,” Albrecht said. “So I’ve got some other people that work with me who have volunteered, and they’re working, and we’re just doing everything that we can to make our city a better place.”
Albrecht knows there are scores of such places throughout the city including residential neighborhoods.
“Anybody that owns property, whether it be a business or residential, that property is more valuable if it looks good,” Albrecht said. “And if just for state of mind I think it’s important to have your property look as good as possible, and take pride in it. It just makes you feel good.”
Albrecht said many of the property and land owners are concerned about their property values declining.
“The best thing we can do is bring commerce and prosperity back here. Then everybody’s property value will go up, and so it is in everyone’s best interest to maintain their property and make it look as good as possible.”
Albrecht said city employees were extremely helpful during their efforts.
“They showed up and were very supportive,” Albrecht said. “And they brought over a dumpster for us to use.”
“I don’t want people to think this is going to look like a brand new parking lot,” Albrecht said. “This is really too far gone, and with the cars parked here, there are some places we couldn’t get too. This will be a week-long process.”
Craig Gilliland, Scioto County Health Coalition Community Initiatives Subcommittee Chairman, said the “Reclaim 2013” project has had a successful start. A large number of companies and organizations have already become involved in the program designed to allow sponsoring groups to claim a designated area of the county and improve it. Gilliland is proposing an Adopt a Block program to allow businesses and groups to take care of one area year round.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.