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Local Man Works To Keep Downtown Idaho Falls Clean

Revitalising the historic Idaho Falls downtown has been a big focus for the city over the past few years. But for nearly 20 years, one local man has been making it his personal mission to keep downtown streets clean.

“We have to do it collectively,” said Jim Pletscher, as he swept a gutter downtown on Sunday.

Pletscher may be retired, after nearly 40 years at the Idaho National Lab, but he’s still hard at work.

For almost 20 years, early in the morning, late-late at night, and on the weekends, Pletscher spends hours downtown sweeping up cigarette butts, wrappers and crinkled paper.

“What I’d like to see is the different shop owners in the mornings sweep their sidewalks like they do in Europe,” he said.

Pletscher sweeps the sidewalks and the gutters, even washes windows with his own telescopic squeegee. He said it’s all for the love of downtown — to make it beautiful, for a lasting first impression.

“When people come downtown, they step out of their car and they’re immediately stepping onto the curb area and if it’s clean they have a favorable impression,” he said.

Like a classic car painstakingly restored, said Pletscher, downtown is his baby. He wants it to glisten, and he said anyone can help.

“Not discarding your trash onto sidewalks or the curbs, utilizing the cigarette receptacles, complimenting business owners that keep the front of their shop and also importantly the back of their shop clean,” he said.

Pletscher said compliments for the folks who make it a point to keep their sidewalks tidy encourages those businesses to stay spic-and-span.

“It indicates the importance that it plays with the personnel and the people that are downtown,” he said. “When a business owner is complimented they know where to increase their efforts because they know it is appreciated.”

Pletscher said he will keep doing his part. Retirement means he doesn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn or work into the night anymore.

His paycheck? He said it’s the sparkle of a freshly cleaned window, or a clear gutter, and the knowledge he’s encouraging others to take the same pride he has in downtown.

“People work on positive reinforcement,” he said.

Pletscher also works as a handyman and you usually catch him working on various projects downtown on weekends and throughout the week.

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