Litter doesn’t linger on Brunswick’s Maine St.
I t’s easy not to give a second thought to how clean Maine Street always seems to be — easy that is, until you meet Shane Marriner pushing his bright yellow wheelbarrow down the street. A unique partnership between a local organization and the town have quietly kept the street clean for more than four years now.
Jay Astle of the Brunswick Recreation Department said he’s not sure of who proposed what to who first, but a department position exclusively dedicated to Maine Street from Mason to Noble streets is funded, not by the town, but by the Brunswick Downtown Association.
BDA Executive Director Deb King said that in the past, the organization held an annual “Clean Sweep” day in May, but felt their resources and efforts would be better utilized if they funded a position that would ensure our sidewalks were clean for the entire summer season.
“We truly feel his efforts are making a positive impact on the look and feel of our beautiful downtown,” King said of Marriner.
The annual event may have been sufficient to clear away winter’s debris, but Astle said the once a year cleanup wasn’t enough to cover tourist season at the height of summer. Astle said Marriner is on the job five days a week, putting in 22.5 hours just keeping Maine Street tidy.
It’s not glorious work, but Marriner spends his time picking up cigarette butts, weeding the tree pits and edges of downtown buildings as well as mowing and edging the esplanades from early May until just before Labor Day weekend.
“The goal of it is to keep Maine Street looking good and have a positive, consistent presence out on Maine Street throughout the summer,” Astle said.
Astle said he always knows where Marriner is because his big wheelbarrow is hard to miss. From there, he just scans the street in one direction or the other.
“It’s been a great partnership,” Astle said of the BDA. “I think we’ve done it for four, maybe this if the fifth year, but it seems to have had a positive impact.”
Astle said he can’t speak for what Maine Street used to look like, but he’d venture to say it probably hasn’t looked this good since they began putting someone on the street with one purpose.
“I think it’s had a very visible impact, at least based on feedback that we’ve received,” Astle said.
Marriner didn’t have a lot to say about his position — relatively new on the job this season, the 24-year-old Bowdoinham resident admits he’s not too chatty, leaving him well suited for his solo routine along Maine Street.
On an average day, Marriner said he goes right to where his tools are stored, grabs his gear and goes. He said he mixes his routine up by alternating chores day by day.
Marriner said he likes it at the Recreation Department where he says everyone is laid back. Most of all, he said he enjoys that his whole shift is outdoors and that the people he encounters are all nice.
“They come up and say thank you for cleaning the sidewalks and ask for directions — it makes my day,” Marriner said.
Although the food on the Mall has been enticing, Marriner said he doesn’t spend much time lingering on the Mall. He said he just moves along with his grabber and hunts down the next piece of litter.