Cleaning up the corner |

Cleaning up the corner

Christy Lattin
The empty gas station at 1 South Maine Street received some much-needed attention during a cleanup held last weekend. The cleanup was organized by the Downtown Merchants Association and aided by the Fallon Chamber Ambassadors.

“Many hands make light work.” — John Heywood

A small group of volunteers gathered last weekend to scrub, sweep, pull, paint and plant in an effort to spruce up a long-neglected property perched at a major intersection in Fallon.

The former gas station located at 1 S. Maine St., has been sitting empty for several years and was falling into a state of disarray. Because of its location at the intersection of Highways 95 and 50, which also happens to be the gateway to the Maine Street corridor, it’s a highly visible piece of property that’s become somewhat of an eye-sore.

The Downtown Merchants Association identified the property as a clean-up project this past spring and was finally able to coordinate the effort on Saturday and Sunday. In a combined effort with member of the Fallon Chamber Ambassadors, the group of five ladies met early Saturday and began the task of cleaning up the property, the former gas pump island and the perimeter of the building.

“I love Fallon and want it to look just as nice now as it did when I was a child,” said Kim Klenakis, president of the Downtown Merchants Association. “The gas station is on a corner that’s a gateway to the Maine Street corridor. We want it to be a welcomed sight for our residents and visitors that come through.”

The property owner, who inherited the parcel, lives across the country and isn’t able to address cosmetic issues, said Mike Berney, the rental agent for the property. Because the former gas station has some ongoing environmental remediation and monitoring, the owner cannot sell the property but is permitted to rent it. But for the past few years the little gas station has been abandoned, a ghost of its former self.

By coordinating with the owner’s legal counsel, the DMA was able to obtain keys to the property and planned the cleanup for mid-October. Most of the work was simply remedial enhancements like painting the former gas pump island and awning (the pumps have long been removed), paint touch-ups on the building, removal of dirt and debris build up, weeding and simple sweeping. One of the large plate glass windows was an apparent target for a large rock, but that window will be replaced in the very near future.

Berney was headed out to breakfast with his family when he saw the cleanup taking place. He stopped to chat with the ladies and was happily surprised to see the work being done.

“They did a real nice job,” Berney said. “I’m glad they’re going to address that window.”

Where there previously were gas pumps are now planter boxes featuring tall grass, and ornamental evergreens fill two additional planter boxes tucked up against the building. The name of the last tenant, spray-painted on the building and awning, has been covered up in a matching shade. Even the tight alleyway behind the building has been raked and cleaned. One could say it’s move-in ready.

“We just wanted it spruced up a bit in anticipation of the holiday season,” Klenakis said.

The Downtown Merchants Association will host its seventh annual Spooktacular trick-or-treat event on Maine Street on Halloween night, and the yearly Christmas tree lighting is a popular local event.

Those interested in renting the property can contact Mike Berney at Berney Realty.

“It’s just a small part of the revitalization of Maine Street,” Klenakis said, mentioning the recent improvements to Fallon Theatre and the anticipated new senior center to be constructed near the museum. “This cleanup is about our community, giving back to our community, and taking care of it.”