Have you ever driven around Bay Shore and thought, “someone really needs to clean up that little spot?” 

Well, now is your chance to make a difference — starting with a cell phone photo and a post to a newly formed Facebook group.

That’s because a volunteer beautification campaign called Spruce Up Bay Shore has been reignited, but with a new approach.

“The idea really is to ask people to find the thing that really bothers them around town and go clean that up,” said Mary Louise Cohen, a 30-year resident of Bay Shore who initiated the idea. “What is it that drives you crazy?

“It’s about you picking out your favorite hotspot that really bothers you.”

The Bay Shore-Brightwaters Summit Council and the Bay Shore Beautification Society are spearheading the volunteer project.

Cohen is involved with both organizations.

She said the campaign is meant to create ownership for residents in the community to adopt a part of town that they can feel responsible for and take pride in.

“That’ll be your spot,” she said. “We want people to own their community in a way they haven’t before.”

While Cohen is encouraging people to coordinate their efforts with Spruce Up Bay Shore through social media and organizing the day around hashtags, there will also be a check-in area at the band shell on Main Street.

Volunteers will be on hand to distribute some supplies to clean-up crews and they are also working to secure a dumpster from the town for people to bring their trash.

Spruce Up Bay Shore is an old idea that is getting new life.

Clean-up programs in Bay Shore have been around for decades, but about six years ago organizers gave it a brand name.

“Every year we would clean up around the train station and up and down Main Street,” she said. “Then six years ago we branded it Spruce Up.”

The annual program ended in 2015.

“That was when the town started charging for parking,” Cohen said. “It was assumed by charging for parking the town would take care of it.”

But a few weeks ago, Cohen began seeing a buzz on a community Facebook page about bringing together people to do a clean-up project.

So, after a four-year hiatus, people were ready to pitch in again — and wondering how they could help. Cohen thought it was time to revive the Spruce Up program and invited people on a Bay Shore Moms Facebook page to a meeting.

Three local moms showed up, Kerrie Wagner, Erica Moore, and Ann Marie Mills.

They got to work and quickly put together a plan, launched a Facebook group,  secured an email address and established their own hashtag: #SpruceUpBayShore

The idea is simple:

Create a project, register the project, take action and share your accomplishments.

Over the next few weeks, residents who want to participate can designate a place in Bay Shore they feel needs some attention, then submit their project by posting a photo and description on the Spruce Up Facebook group or by emailing SpruceUpBSBW@gmail.com.

Cohen and her volunteers will add the project to a list.

Once the clean-up is completed on May 11, volunteers are encouraged to post an “after” picture as well.

Community organizations and local businesses are also encouraged to submit projects. That, or Spruce Up will assign one that is safe and appropriate for the volunteers. Every area of Bay Shore is open for possible clean-up projects, except the paid town lots.

“We are not going to clean up the paid parking areas because the town is really supposed to take care of that,” Cohen said.

No project is too big or too small; she just wants people to get involved.

“I’m hoping to have broad community support,” Cohen said. “We want them to get involved.”

Spruce Up Bay Shore will be held on Saturday, May 11. Find them on Facebook to submit your project or email SpruceUpBSBW@gmail.com with questions.

Top: A photo from the 2013 Spruce Up Bay Shore Event (Credit: Facebook)