grassroots campaign to spruce up the appearance of the village of Glouster is
drawing the attention of media at both the state and national level.
work of a group calling itself the Glouster Volunteers, whose members have
recently been putting fresh coats of paint and making other improvements on homes
and businesses in the north Athens County village, has
already been written up in The
Columbus Dispatch. And on Friday, CBS correspondent Steve Hartman is
reportedly scheduled to run a piece on the project in his weekly "On the Road"
segment, which airs during "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley."
was here yesterday," confirmed Glouster resident Terry Dugan Tuesday morning as
he brushed pastel green paint onto the front siding of a house on the village's
main thoroughfare, Ohio Rt. 13. "They were here all day."
and his wife, Lois, retirees who still live in Glouster, were among a handful
of volunteers painting the house as part of an effort launched by a former
James "Sonny" Cotter, 81, now lives in Kettering, Ohio, near Dayton. He grew up
in Glouster, however, and attended Glouster High School. His sister,
83-year-old Jody Moore, still lives in town.
reportedly got the idea of making his hometown look a little nicer while taking
a stroll through the village.
just started walking through the town, and decided it needed something to
spruce it up a little bit," explained Bev Wyatt, a Glouster resident and Ohio
University employee who has helped
publicize the campaign. "Just to kind of brighten the area up."
who owned a sign shop for decades before retiring, said he actually started his
efforts last year, by offering his services to village Mayor Miles Wolf to
paint fire hydrants and bridges. When he had finished with those jobs, he asked
his sister what else needed to be done in town.
said, 'Boy, I'd like to see all those windows of those closed stores (in town)
washed,'" he recalled. This led to Cotter's taking a spray bottle of window
cleaner and hitting the downtown area.
that job was done, he and his sister then put together a group of volunteers to
touch up and seal a mural on the front of old photography studio in town
earlier this year. From there, the project expanded to painting any homes or
businesses in town whose owners or inhabitants agree to let it happen.
far, Wyatt said, about 20 homes and businesses have gotten free makeovers,
including the high school stadium, which is getting not only a paint job, but
some structural improvements.
whole thing is funded entirely by donations of paint, supplies, money and
volunteer labor. Many of the volunteers, like the Dugans, are pitching in out
of community pride.
husband and I are both retired now, and we've lived here our whole lives," Lois
Dugan added jokingly that he didn't realize he was on the volunteer team until
his wife told him.
why I'm here," he admitted. "She signed me up. That's a fact."
Dugan said volunteers have been working their way through town, offering to
paint any home or business that looks like it could use it.
just go through, and see which ones need to be worked on," she explained. In some
cases, she added, the sight of the volunteers at work has inspired nearby
residents to get to work painting their own homes.
Alice Richards, perched atop the front wall of the home's porch as she painted
its upper frame, said the group's work so far should be easy to spot in a town
where dingy, peeling building fronts are not hard to find.
can probably definitely pick out the (buildings) we've done," she said.
with the spreading publicity, the campaign is attracting donations; one donor
has given $1,000, the volunteers reported, and another $500. The paint is all
donated, some by area businesses. And the number of people willing to pick up a
brush is reportedly growing.
me, being involved in doing this is just a sense that you're giving back to
your community," Wyatt said.
think it has to do something for community pride," suggested Terry Dugan.
Dugan noted that starting Monday, the group will be having regular meetings
throughout the week, 9 a.m. at the village depot, to which any volunteers are
invited to come. Then on Saturday, there will be a celebration picnic at the
Glouster community park. She urged anyone who wants to help out to attend a
meeting, and they'll be assigned some work.
don't have to be good," added her husband. "You just have to be willing."
said he's thrilled by the response his project has gotten, both from local
residents and from the media.
just been contagious," he said. "I'm as amazed as anyone else."
he said, he hopes the volunteer effort will help Glouster's somewhat tarnished
image, and light a lasting fire in village residents to pitch in and improve
just trying to make it nicer, so when people drive through Glouster, they don't
give it a bad name," he explained. "And hopefully, as people get the spirit,
they'll start doing it on their own – those who can."