City clean-up will be at full force
By Michael Brooks
On June 30, citizens of Edna will becoming together for a big clean-up project.
“This has been a project I was interested in getting started,” Edna Mayor Lance Smiga said. “Cleaning up lots and yards, helping citizens have a little pride in the appearance of their yards, getting the trash in the street cleaned up, all of that has been a focus of ours for the last three-plus years.”
With a suggestion from a local church, Smiga decided the time was right to see how it would work out.
“We had Shiloh Church approach us for a meeting and that was one of their concerns as well,” Smiga continued. “So it was a perfect opportunity to say okay lets kick this off.”
Getting the manpower together to do this has not been a problem, and if anything, there are more people lined up to help than anyone could have imagined.
“I called both Edna Athletic Directors, Jimmie Mitchell and Jill Koop, and they have volunteered their athletes instead of working out that day,” Smiga said. “Basically anybody we have called and asked for assistance had said yes. We have had private citizens, we tell them this is our idea, and we need some help and everybody said sure. It has turned into something bigger than we had ever imagined.”
For the student athletes, helping clean up is a perfect way to grow their pride for their community.
“We’re constantly trying to teach work ethic and community,” Mitchell said. “I think it is a great opportunity for us to go be a part of the community, help the community, and do it as a team. It will help them be a part of something that helps their community. We’re going to load the guys up and go over there an help out.”
“We love the idea of our coaches and kids investing some sweat and effort into the community,” Koop said. “I’m so glad Mayor Smiga came to us with the opportunity. Missing one organized workout in order to spend time together cleaning up our community is a great trade-off. I have no doubt a lot of our kids will show up and work their tails off for the community just like they do for us each day.”
With plenty of manpower, finding out what needs to be cleaned up was the next step.
“City employees have come up with a list of 71 properties with varying degrees of what needs to be done,” Smiga said. “If there are trees down we will get them out of there, if there is trash in the ditches we’ll pick it up, if yards need to be mowed, we are going to try to mow. Basically, if you need help, we want to help.
“When this started, I figured if we cleaned a dozen houses in a day we could call it a success, but if you just look at the manpower the school is going to provide, plus LNRA, The City, plus Shiloh, we are going to have quite a few people out there.” Now with all the help, Smiga is hoping this becomes bigger than just a one time thing.
“We want to just get out and make a difference. Hopefully with this amount of people we can. My hope is this now becomes an annual event and that each year we can be better at it and do a different quadrant of the city each year until we rotate back around and then hopefully it can lead to bigger and better projects.
“In the past the Baptist Church has helped paint houses and build ramps so maybe we can lead up to something like where they take on the big projects while we still work on the little projects,” Smiga said. “Hopefully it turns into something that everybody takes pride in and can say ‘hey this is our city, we want to give back a little bit.’ My selling point to the coaches is these are the people sitting in our stands and if we are going to instill pride in our community, we need to start with the younger generation. So they are giving back to the people that support them, all of us are just trying to get out there and help.”
This year, the clean-up will be focusing on the area between Main and Wells from 59 to Business 59.
“If there are people in the community that need help, call City Hall, tell us your address, we will come out and visit with you, and add you to the list,” Smiga said. “And if anyone wants to help, we are meeting at MLK park at 8 a.m. Just show up.”
Local business are also pitching in other ways.
“HEB will be providing water, mosquito spray and trash bags,” City Manager Gary Broz said. “Inteplast is also donating trash bags.
“Also, we will still have the citywide cleanup. This is not what that it. We dont have a date set for that yet.”