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City of Syracuse clean-up effort gets a boost from website

Syracuse City Hall plans to “Clean Up ’Cuse” next weekend, and a local entrepreneur has seized that opportunity to test out a Web application his software company has designed.

The company is AppFury and its website helps organize and track community cleanup events, said AppFury cofounder Steven VonDeak, 28, who lives in Franklin Square with his wife.

Anyone can go to the website and click on a map of Syracuse where they will be doing community cleanups and/or they can join a group, VonDeak said. The city is working with VonDeak to use the website during the cleanup, said Lindsay McCluskey, spokeswoman for Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Miner’s Citizen Cabinet is recruiting people to serve on five teams that will clean up trash and debris at five sites around the city starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. As of Friday, the cabinet had recruited some 130 volunteers. To volunteer, call Lindsay Speicher at 448-8005.

The idea of the new application is to coordinate cleanups organized by unrelated groups, VonDeak said. He hopes eventually to market the venture to cities and other municipalities but is not ready for a national roll out yet, he said. This is the launch year, he said, where people can interact with the website and its creators can get feedback about it.

VonDeak grew up in DeWitt, graduated from Manlius Pebble Hill School, the University of Rochester and the law school at Syracuse University. He said he co-founded AppFury with Eric Hinman, who also lives in Franklin Square.

As a lifelong resident of the area, VonDeak said he knows that Syracuse is forward thinking in its environmental initiatives, and he’d read a lot about the need to keep the community cleaner.

“And that’s kind of how the idea was born. It’s — how can we make these events run more efficiently? How can we get more people involved?” he said.