As Streator prepares to bring more attention to the Vermilion River by way of a greenway trail, another group is looking to make it more presentable.
Quintin Overocker has started a cleanup effort to remove the sizable amounts of garbage that have been dumped there over the years.
“It’s kind of depressing to see the trash and everything that accumulates in the river because I care a lot about it and I wanted to do something to make it a little better,” Overocker said.
Overocker said he grew up on the Vermilion River and has a deep, personal connection with keeping it clean. He routinely kayaks the river and is disappointed by the tires, TVs and other garbage that pollutes the otherwise majestic resource.
“It can be such a beautiful thing. It stinks to see that stuff,” he said.
Overocker plans to gather as many interested volunteers as he can from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the Hopalong Cassidy Canoe Launch.
He added those with canoes and kayaks are especially welcome to float down the river and pick up garbage as they go, but those without water transportation will be able to help out along the bank.
Overocker reached out to city officials for any assistance they could provide.
“Generally (we’ve provided in the past) a dumpster and access to the river along the trail,” said Councilman Ed Brozak.
Brozak said he was excited to learn of the cleanup effort especially given the city’s refocused greenway plan, which includes a path along the Vermilion River.
“As we’re building along the river any cleanup efforts by these people are greatly appreciated,” Brozak said.
Brozak estimated it had been about four years since the last cleanup effort was organized and Overocker has been speaking with them as well as drawing inspiration from other similar efforts.
He hopes to be able to organize a few cleanup efforts, if interest is in the community, so the river trash never sits idle in the river for too long.
He also hopes it encourages others to take care of the river in the future.
“It’s just such a beautiful river and it’s cool that it’s in Streator and I don’t think enough people know about it or care about it,” Overocker said. “So hopefully this can draw some attention to the great resource that is there.”
For more information and to sign up for the event, visit fb.com/vermilionrivercleanup or email Overocker at email@example.com.