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home : premium content : news May 29, 2016

5/15/2013 2:46:00 PM
Pride Committee is back to clean things up in town
Ian Dunn

The Leavenworth Pride Committee is back and ready for action. The committee was first formed back in 2009, under former mayor Rob Eaton. The task of the committee was to make sure the town looked its best. But, for whatever reason, the committee fizzled out near the end of that year.

Former committee member Bill Lynn came to council last year, encouraging reformation as an ad hoc committee of the city council. Now, the committee has reformed with Lynn as chair, Peter DeVries and Michael Molohon from city council, Kevin Rieke (chamber), Bob Kelly (Projekt Bayern), Rick Leal (Autumn Leaf), Cary Sanger (BVBA), Ron Hill (Royal Bavarians) and Lynn Reppas and Lester Nunn, at large.

"Since the city did such a nice job fixing up Front Street, and with so much new construction going on, we feel like trying to bring the town to the next level," Molohon said. "I don't know if people are aware, but there are a lot of people that walk the alleys. I think there is a tendency to think of the alley as a place for garbage and where we throw stuff."

Molohan doesn't like grease traps or the planters full dirt of in the alley. He finds the backs of the buildings moldy and dirty, one in particular. And the balconies haven't been painted.

He thinks the backs of the buildings are just as important as the front.

"Most people take care of the buildings, but it is mostly the front, not the back. Look at your building as a whole," he said. "Look at the back of the building, knowing people walk down those alleys, especially on a busy day. Some of the eating and drinking establishments are located in the alleys."

What really burns Molohon is the folks who smoke in the alley and drop their cigarettes on the ground. He takes time nearly every weekend to clean this up, on his own accord.

"Technically, the alleys are the city's responsibility, but it doesn't get done. So we are looking for a few people that have that pride spirit that say, 'I'm going to take care of this,'" he said. "I am trying to lead by example, by being out there Saturday and Sunday."

To date, the building owners have not been approached. First, he wants everyone to know the committee exists. Then, the committee will look at the buildings they think are out of compliance. Those building owners will receive a letter from the committee informing them their building needs some attention. It will be up to the building owner to comply.

This relates only to the buildings downtown, not the residential. Molohon said it has gotten better over the years, and there are some examples of good buildings.

"We are hoping to get some voluntary compliance and some eyes on it. See what can be done for us and Leavenworth in general," he said. "There is a lot happening in town, new buildings, new hotel. Town is really going. If we could get some of those things cleaned up, it would be great. That is a very Bavarian trait. Bavaria is the cleanest."

Having spent time living in Bavaria, Molohon knows what he is talking about. And you can't give him the excuse the buildings in Leavenworth are too old to be kept looking nice.

"Bavaria has been around for a couple thousand years, dating back to the Romans. The town I lived in..they kept their alleys clean," he said. "Even though things are thousands of years old, they are absolutely clean. I mean, front and back. That is what we are striving for, that next level of perfection. I like to say, perfect is good enough."

Thus far, Molohon said they have selected five buildings for special recognition. He encourages those in the community to let him know if there is something the city needs to do. And for those that don't comply, he admits there is only so much they can do.

"We're hoping peer pressure is the best kind of pressure," he said. "At least, it should be as clean as they can get it. I see things that haven't been touched for years, air conditioners full of garbage. Everybody washes their sidewalks, but there's still more than needs to be done."

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or

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