FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — Hidden Lakes resident and Maintenance Supervisor Jason Hubble calls the improvements at Hidden Lakes Campground “really fantastic.”

“It’s spreading like ripples on a pond after you throw in a stone,” said Hubble, referring to the cleanup efforts at the campground.

Hubble said he can’t say enough about how thankful he is for the work of all the churches and people who come out to spend their Sunday afternoon working to cleanup abandoned and condemned properties.

Fifty people from five churches came out on the June 13 work day.

Hidden Lake residents Mariah and Karen George are delighted to see improvements. They make the lunch for workers on Sunday work days every month.

Hidden Lakes Board President Tanya Nell said she is pleased that Hidden Lakes residents are once again taking pride in their properties and pitching in on the cleanup.

Nell said the board has organized pancake breakfasts and a raffle to help raise funds for the cleanup. They also painted and reopened the clubhouse this year and purchased a new playground set for children. They have plans to reopen the swimming pool and are looking for lifeguards.

Franklin Township Trustee Jim Jahn said that they have been able to cleanup 51 properties with the help of a coalition of eight county churches who have pitched in to help contribute money for the dumpsters that are needed when abandoned utility buildings, trash and metal are cleaned out of a lot.

Church members come with tools, shovels and even chain saws to get the work done. The eight churches have named their association “Grass Roots.”

The eight churches began with the work of Fresh Faith Community Church and several heard about the work and joined including: the Mount Gilead Church of Christ, Gilead Friends Church, Bryn Zion, Awakening, Vessel Church, First Presbyterian and Sparta Advent.

Jahn said the first priority for the Hidden Lakes Board, township trustees and county has been the cleanup of abandoned and condemned properties. That has begun to make a difference in improving the quality of life for residents.

What is making Jahn most happy is to see the mindset of residents change as they begin cleaning up on their own and taking pride in their properties and in the campground again.

“There is a value to the people there and to the county,” Jahn said. “Pat Davies reports that more residents are paying their property tax.”

The biggest need now is funds for dumpsters that range from $425 to $525 depending on size. Churches have been big contributors, as well as the county commissioners who have budgeted some money for dumpsters.

The other big asset has been the people who have given their time and sweat equity.

Gloria McNew of Fresh Faith Church said that all Morrow County Churches are invited to be part of the efforts of the “Grass Roots” coalition. The next meeting is Tuesday, June 29 at the Mount Gilead Church of Christ from 6-8 p.m.

The next work day at Hidden Lakes is Sunday, July 25 starting from the Clubhouse at 1 p.m.

Loading up a dumpster from an abandoned building at Hidden Lakes are, from left: Jason Hubble, and Chris Harriman and Pastor T.J. McNew from Fresh Faith Church. up a dumpster from an abandoned building at Hidden Lakes are, from left: Jason Hubble, and Chris Harriman and Pastor T.J. McNew from Fresh Faith Church. Sentinel photo
Churches take part in ‘Grass Roots’ efforts

By Alberta Stojkovic

For The Sentinel