Good Neighbors

Neighborhood Rivals Team Up, to Clean Up

Start the trash talk: neighboring towns face off in an Earth Day challenge to clean up their communities

Back in the day, the Etna Rams and the neighboring Sharpsburg Wolves were rivals on the fields and courts along the Allegheny River outside of Pittsburgh. Both towns' high schools have long-since closed, but a friendly spirit of competition remains, which will come out in a positive way on Earth day, April 13.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says, at 9am, the "Rams" will meet at the Etna Borough Building while the "Wolves" will gather in front of the Sharpsburg Borough Building. Then they'll set out to clean litter from the streets and scour the creek beds for trash in their respective towns. At 11:30, they'll gather to compare notes at what's called the "Gateway portal" where the town lines intersect and their "EcoDistricts" meet, near the future Etna Riverfront Trail and Park. Click here for more info.

According to the P-G, an EcoDistrict designation is given to communities that plan for and implement sustainable practices. Etna, Sharpsburg, and the neighboring town of Millvale are part of the Triboro EcoDistrict. As part of that, the Etna Economic Development Corp., New Sun Rising and the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization have been working together with support from evolveEA, a Pittsburgh sustainable architecture firm. Together they have received a $2.3 million grant from the Hillman Foundation.

Among things they've done so far: solar projects (above, in Sharpsburg), community gardens, improved green spaces (below, Etna's "Rain Park"), public art projects, and trail and park improvements.

"We have a unique relationship. We love collaborating with our neighbors." Robert Tunon, Etna Economic Development Corp

At the conclusion of the April 13 clean-up challenge participants will compare their work with the mayors of Etna and Sharpsburg on hand. The first Earth Day Mayor's Cup will be awarded to the town that collects the most trash.

(Images: Etna Boro Facebook Page / Sharpsburg Facebook Page )

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