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Day of Caring spruces up downtown Herkimer

By GARY LIBERATORE

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Saturday morning about two dozen volunteers donated their time and energy to help clean up Main St. in Herkimer.

The effort is part of the United Way's 'Day of Caring'.

For this project, the United Way teamed up with the all volunteer organization called Herkimer Now.

United Way spokesperson Adam Lawless says the United Way of the Mohawk Valley and Greater Utica had a similar effort in Utica earlier this summer, "These are volunteer events that we partner with other organizations on, to help create a better environment."

The president and founder of Herkimer Now, Scott Pitucci was out cleaning up, along with his kids, "Grassroots organization, we started about four years ago, because we saw our Main St. deteriorate and we wanted to find out what we could do about it."

The street's parking meters were getting painted and graffiti was being painted over on a couple of buildings.

Herkimer Mayor Mark Ainsworth was also helping do some painting.  He too is a volunteer with Herkimer Now.

He says it is symbolic that the first building being worked on is the old Glory Days building, one of the sites of the valley shootings back in May, "We're trying to address a building that has some unfortunate sad memories, but his building also had a lot of happy memories for many of the residents, it's been in this village for many yeas when it was the old General Herkimer, many weddings were performed here, receptions."

Ainsworth says a woman purchased the building with the intent to renovate it, "She's looking at doing some kind of IT business here in conjunction with the college.  She's hoping to reopen the restaurant, refurbish the apartments, having like yoga classes, pilate classes, anything to try and bring people back into downtown."

Herkimer Now volunteer Kathy Penree was emotional when asked about working on the building, "This has a lot of impact on this village to start with this building.  It brings back a lot of memories.  We want to help clean it up, move forward help the community heal, it's just a small start but it's a great beginning."

Penree added, "If we can heal this building, it's going to help the community heal."

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