Port Orchard community cleanup on Sunday

Downtown Port Orchard will be getting both a cosmetic and a financial boost, as the annual downtown cleanup coincides with a citywide effort to stimulate local shopping.

The city’s third Spring Spruce Up will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, at which time volunteers will split up into teams to add spit and polish to the two-block downtown area.

“We’re preparing the downtown to look nice in order to prepare for all the upcoming summer events,” said Mallory Jackson, owner of Custom Picture Framing.

During the summer months, downtown will host the Seagull Calling Festival and the Harbor Festival, as well as a steady steam of boaters and tourists. This year it will also host Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Days at the end of August, which will require another cleanup effort closer to the event, according to Jackson.

Cleanup plans have been prioritized, and will be accomplished depending on how many volunteers show up (previous years have drawn 25 or 30).

Jackson expects more people to show up this year “because word gets around.”

The most important tasks including cleaning windows and sidewalks, re-planting window boxes and general landscaping.

Light covers and garbage cans will be cleaned if enough volunteers show up.

The volunteers will be led by “block captains,” and the event should take about two hours, according to Jackson.

Volunteers are to meet at Jackson’s shop at 839 Bay Street, which is located at the east end of downtown.

While the cleanup is a short-term fix that will need to be repeated and maintained, the city is also involved in an effort with longer-lasting implications.

About 35 merchants have already signed up to participate in the Shop SK First program, which is intended to generate awareness of available products throughout the South Kitsap region and encourage shoppers to consider a local merchant before heading off to Silverdale or Seattle.

Part of the program is a community reward card, where customers are given a card that earns them a discount at selected local merchants and qualifies them for a gift certificate drawing at the end of each month.

Cards are free to the consumer, but businesses are assessed an annual $50 fee for promotional costs.

Merchants can join the program at any time, but will need to do so prior to April 20 in order to be included in the first round of advertising and promotion.

Jackson has made presentations about the program to several community groups, and said that reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

For more information about Shop SK First call (360) 876-3505.

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