1,200 volunteer to tidy up city

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An estimated 1,200 volunteers participated in Keep Denton Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup event Saturday.

Event coordinator Lauren Barker said 972 people registered in advance for the cleanup.

The annual event focuses on cleaning up neighborhoods, parks and streets, all through the effort of residents wanting to do good for their community.

“It’s been amazing to see the show of support the community as a whole provides every year,” said Barker, who’s been involved with the cleanup event since 2008.

Who cleans where is determined by an appearance index Keep Denton Beautiful is required to put together yearly as a nonprofit organization.

“Basically, we have some people that have their own suggestions on where they want to work at cleaning, but most are sent to areas most needed according to our index,” Barker said.

She said the event has drawn about 1,000 or more volunteers each year she has been involved, and this is the largest day of cleanup in the city each year.

Since its inception, Keep Denton Beautiful’s annual Great American Cleanup day has resulted in the removal of an estimated 2 million pounds of litter, according to the organization’s website.

University of North Texas students Brianna Massey and Alejandra Fernandez said events like this are what they live for.

“We love community service,” Massey said.

The two students worked on tidying up an area near Loop 288 and McKinney Street.

“Just the two of us had four or five bags of trash picked up in just a matter of a couple hours,” Fernandez said.

Whether a student, a Scout troop, or someone like Robert Pitt, who noticed how much trash accumulated in his neighborhood while taking his daily walks, the message was the same.

“I just saw a need to get things cleaned up and wanted to put in my effort to help,” Pitt said.

He said he has participated in the event with his co-workers off and on, and at one time, they even had an adopted cleanup spot.

“I really wanted to work alongside my neighborhood, but I actually ended up cleaning the north side of East McKinney and Springfield,” Pitt said after unloading the bed full of trash from his pickup.

But, he said, he also plans to clean up his neighborhood.

While the trash collected Saturday will not be weighed in until Monday morning, officials at the event said they unloaded tons of litter into trash trucks on site at the Denton Civic Center.

“This really is our bread and butter; events such as this one really are what Keep Denton Beautiful is all about,” Barker said.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is mgray@dentonrc.com.


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