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Taking part in Scranton City Pride 2021 activities are, from left, Gerard Hetman, NeighborWorks NEPA; Steve Ward, Scranton Tomorrow; Jesse Ergott and Timothy Schwartz, both of NeighborWorks.

Scranton City Pride is back with more projects and a greater reach, thanks to a Scranton Tomorrow and NeighborWorks of NEPA partnership

From June 4 through June 12, a small army of volunteers will clean and beautify Scranton’s downtown and its neighborhoods. A partnership between Scranton Tomorrow and NeighborWorks has planned a Scranton City Pride that’s bigger, cleaner and greener than anything done in recent years.

The point is to make the city’s streetscapes match the beauty Steve Ward sees in his community. “We wanted a much more inclusive event this year,” said Ward, Scranton Tomorrow’s safe, clean and green ambassador team leader and a master gardener. “This year, City Pride will be more than a cleanup project. It will bring out the strong assets we have in our city, and put them on display — especially our people, who are so generous, and our natural resources, our fellow nonprofits and community groups. It’s a collaboration among all of us. We want to elevate city pride.”

For the citywide effort, which continues to June 12, Ward has amassed a wealth of geraniums, petunias, coleus, columbine, cone flowers and fuschia that are ready to bring color and beauty to the downtown. NeighborWorks strives to provide numerous opportunities within our neighborhoods. Turning out to help with Scranton City Pride projects expect to see the following:

— Outreach for Community Services on Seventh Avenue, Landscape improvements and creation of a little free library by community volunteers, Lackawanna 4-H and Outreach for Community Services. “We’ve planned physical improvement projects to enhance what OCS does in the community,” Ward said, noting the little free library is meant to encourage the many Scranton High School students who walk past the property to and from school to take a book and read.

— At the Catherine McCauley Center on Pittston Avenue, Penn State Scranton volunteers will build a bilingual little free library that will include books in Spanish.

— At the Gino Merli Veterans Center, because of COVID-19, Ward said, residents at the center haven’t had much social interaction. Our volunteers will plant house plants in pretty pots and deliver them door-to-door at the center during City Pride week.

— At the Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children, in a weeks-long project, master gardeners provide lessons to students on the care for plants. Students are raises plants to plant at City Hall with assistance from the gardeners and Fidelity Bank representatives. In exchange for their time, the students have taught gardeners sign language.

— Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club members will take care of the 150 downtown sidewalk planters, filling them with beautiful summer flowers.

— Part of recovery is to be involved in activities, Ward said. The Lackawanna County Buildings and Grounds Department, and the downtown Recovery Bank will put in a landscape bed at the county’s Gateway Center on Jefferson Avenue, which the Recovery Bank will tend all summer.

— The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce will undertake beautification projects on the Mulberry Street Corridor.

— Scranton High School’s volunteer club, which typically sends as many as 75 students, will plant flowers and remove litter.

Many events will happen throughout the city’s neighborhoods and great opportunities are available for giving your time, whether as a group or your own individual project.

Scranton Tomorrow and NeighborWorks representatives will be at each site, offering direction and getting their own hands dirty. “Since December, we have been rallying volunteers,” Ward said. “We want people to know that the city of Scranton is a great place to live and to do business and Scranton City Pride shows that.”

Scranton City Pride 2022 is supported by the city of Scranton, the University of Scranton and Fidelity Bank. For dates, times and more projects, visit Scrantoncitypride.org. To donate books to the little free libraries, email steve@scrantontomorrow.org.

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