In a never-ending effort to curb the amount of litter in town, East Hampton Town officials are bringing back the Adopt-A-Road program.
Individuals, families, organizations and businesses can opt to adopt a section of roadway in the town, agreeing to clean it eight times each year, and get a free sign with their name on it in return.
“It’s time to bring the program back,” said Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby. “I’ve had complaints during the summers in the last couple of years, where people are saying, ‘My road is too dirty.’”
Ms. Overby said the roads she’d most like to see taken care of are many, but particularly Old Stone Highway, Barnes Hole Road and Swamp Road. She said Suffolk County’s Route 114 and the state’s Napeague stretch also need help, but since they are not owned by the town, the town cannot offer them for adoption.
The program is open and free to anyone who wants to participate, thanks to the efforts of the town’s Recycling and Litter Committee.
According to Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch, there are 300 miles of town road, and his office will help those who are interested to pick out a section of road they’d like to adopt. “Claudia Washington has on her computer what roads are available,” he said on Friday.
Mr. Lynch said the program will offer extra help to his already busy department. “For every piece of litter somebody else picks up is a piece we don’t have to,” he said. “It’s a big help, especially today with limited manpower.”
Former Superintendent of Highways Chris Russo started the program during the 1990s, according to Ms. Overby, and it had a very positive start. But over time, the program wasn’t sustained and, over the years, only a few people continued picking up along their adopted roadways.
“Most of the signs had been taken down, because people either moved or their businesses were no longer there or changed hands, or people passed away,” Ms. Overby said. “Now, the town has its own sign-making machine, and it can be done pretty efficiently.”
She said she remembers the improvement made to Sunrise Highway when the state did a similar adopt-a-road program years ago and wants to see the same kind of change: “I really hope people will embrace the program and go ahead and pick up.”
For more information, call (631) 324-0925, or visit the town’s website at www.town.east-hampton.ny.us, under the highway department’s tab.