PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria’s incoming Chief of Police was on hand during a neighborhood cleanup hosted by the city’s Community Development Department to commemorate the sixth annual Great Neighbor Appreciation Week from July 24 to July 30.
The week celebrates and honors the contributions of those in the community who consistently go above and beyond to be a great neighbor.
Monday morning at 9 a.m., about 25 city workers and volunteers were cleaning up the South Side on Western Ave., armed with trash bags, garbage pickers, and gloves.
Among them was Peoria’s incoming Chief of Police, Eric Echevarria.
“This is my first day here in the city. We got here last night, and I knew I had to come out and pick up some litter, take a walk through the community, and see what’s going on,” Echevarria said.
City workers said it’s amazing to see people come from all over the city to help out, even if it’s not their own neighborhood.
“It’s awesome to see people engaged because at the end of the day, no matter where you live in Peoria, we are one city, and it’s up to all of us to keep the city looking clean,” said Kaylee Drea, neighborhood enhancement coordinator.
“It’s great to see so many people out, trying to help us out, doing everything that they can to make their neighborhoods look great… Just because it’s not our part of town doesn’t mean its not our community,” said Dawn Scally, code enforcement inspector.
Echevarria said participating in events like this can help build trust with law enforcement.
“This is great. I think this is how we show the community that we care and that we want to be part of them, and that’s how we’re going to get these crime rates down, and really build relationships with transparency and legitimacy in the community,” he said.
A second cleanup was held in East Bluff at 3:30 p.m. and there are multiple cleanups scheduled for the rest of the week.