Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful holds neighborhood, roadway cleanup
By BRITTANY FHOLER
More than 90 residents across the city joined together in picking up trash Saturday for a Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful neighborhood and roadway cleanup event.
Saturday’s event was the first city cleanup event held since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Altogether, 93 volunteers collected 1,020 pounds of trash.
The idea for the clean up came from the Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful board of directors, who initially had planned on just picking up trash themselves and then sharing pictures on social media to encourage residents, according to KCCB Executive Director Roxanne Flores-Achmad.
That plan changed when board members mentioned groups wanting to get involved.
In order to encourage social distancing during this time, the event was pushed on social media and advertised locally, with registration available online. Residents were encouraged to clean up their own neighborhoods and areas they are familiar with.
“The nice thing about this is because of everything that has happened, with people’s being at home and social distancing, is a lot of our volunteers that we’re getting are people that never have volunteered with our organization,” Achmad said. “What they’re doing is they’re at home, and they’re wanting to do something, but they want to do it safely, and this is an opportunity considering that they can clean up their neighborhood.”
Via the Solid Waste Department, KCCB provided the supplies - orange vests, trash bags and grabber equipment - to residents so all residents had to do was put in the work.
“We ask people to do big cleanups, but when they can see that immediate result in their neighborhood, they’re more prone to get involved and make a difference in their backyard,” Achmad said.
Cleanup sites included along the fence line along Business 190 across from Walmart, near Lutheran Church Road, South Park, Heritage Park, Holy Family Catholic Church and the area near Town Square Shopping Center and in the Tonkawa Village neighborhood by Cline Drive.
Josh Ainley picked up trash with his sons Jonah, 13, and Noah, 10, with the Holy Family Catholic Church youth group. The group spread out and picked up trash on church property as well as in the Town Square shopping center and by Bush’s Chicken.
“We enjoy it. You see the result of your work as you go along,” Ainley said as the trio worked on their second bag of trash.
Over in Tonkawa Village, several volunteers spread out from Marlee Circle to pick up trash by the Dollar General.
Resident Tommy Lopez, who retired from the Army four months ago, had been stationed at Fort Hood previously and moved back to the area from Alaska. Back in Alaska, Lopez said that his community would hold a spring cleanup every year, which is something he and his wife wanted to do in Copperas Cove as well.
After seeing the city’s cleanup event, they wanted to join in and do something more for their neighborhood. Lopez recruited in a neighborhood group about the clean-up efforts and invited his fellow residents to stop by for hot dogs and hamburgers, tea donated from Bush’s Chicken and a coupon for snow cones from the Frigid Frog, owned by one of Lopez’ neighbors.
If neighbors talk to each other and get to know one another, they can look out for one another, Lopez said.
A neighbor get-together is something Lopez said he and his wife had been wanting to do since moving back into the area in January but then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Once restrictions lifted, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Masks and hand sanitizer were available, and residents were able to keep their distance while picking up trash.
“It was kind of last minute because we thought we were going to be doing it all by ourselves, but I thought it was the perfect time to piggy-back off the city,” Lopez said.
The plans went into motion Wednesday morning, he added. The neighborhood clean up lasted from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Volunteers went up on the hill behind the houses on Cline Drive, up and down all the streets in the neighborhood and even down to the Dollar General parking lot facing West Business 190.
“If you just know your community, stuff like this can happen,” Lopez said.
After seeing how popular the cleanup event was, KCCB has brought up the possibility of holding more events like this in July or August.
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful is also looking into rolling out an Adopt a Park or Adopt an Area program, where residents would adopt an area and keep it clean, with all supplies provided by KCCB and the city.