In Huntersville Saturday, more than 50 volunteers joined residents of the largely African-American Pottstown neighborhood for a cleanup that also was designed to build community.
Pottstown is an area of about 150 homes south of downtown Huntersville, around the former Torrence-Lytle School. That's where many older black residents went to high school in the days of segregation.
Like other African American neighborhoods in north Mecklenburg, this one is threatened by gentrification, with new development all around it. So this year, Mayor John Aneralla made it the focus of the town's second annual community cleanup.
"I'm a little shocked at how much stuff has come out of these homes," Aneralla said.
Varona Wynn is a neighborhood leader, and said the cleanup shows support for the area. “We are working to help our community survive and the mayor is wanting to show that Huntersville cares about those communities in need,” Wynn said.
Volunteers came from churches, service clubs and community groups. Residents put out old furniture and appliances, carpets, televisions and other items on the curb. Volunteers loaded them onto pickup trucks and trailers and hauled them to dumpsters at the old school.
Resident Melissa Sherrill was grateful for the help, which cleared her back door for the first time in years.
“They cleaned off my back porch. And now I can get on my back porch, and look out or do whatever. I just got one little table out there,” Sherrill said.
Pottstown residents have another big project on their minds next: Mecklenburg County is planning a renovation of the old school's 1957 gym.