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They clean up nice

Residents help to beautify the community as part of a national effort.

May 23, 2010|By Melanie Hicken

Hundreds of community volunteers gathered across the city Saturday morning to pull weeds, pick up cigarette butts and build garden beds.

At Mark Keppel Elementary School, several dozen students, parents and teachers assembled to plant trees and clean up the school’s Unity Garden, where each grade at the school has its own plot.

“We’re very excited about this,” said Mary Mason, principal at Mark Keppel. “Our garden needed some TLC.”

The efforts at Mark Keppel were one of seven cleanup projects that made up the city’s 22nd annual Great American Cleanup, a community beautification event hosted by the city’s Neighborhood Services division and the Committee for a Clean & Beautiful Glendale.


The event was held in conjunction with similar events across the country through the national profit Keep America Beautiful. Nationwide, more than 3 million volunteers are expected to take part in community cleanup events from March through May.

On Saturday, Glendale volunteers painted faded trail signs at Brand Park, cleared brush and weeds from the hiking trails at Deukmejian Wilderness Park that were scorched by the Station Fire, and pruned roses at the Fremont Park Rose Garden, among other efforts.

One of the signature parts of this year’s event was construction on a new community-run garden at 827 Monterey Road, a vacant city-owned parcel down the street from the Monterey Road Eco-Community Garden, which opened last year.

The site’s volunteers were organized by the Glendale Kiwanis Club, which provided the lumber and materials to build the 18 garden beds, which will be split into 36 plots. On Saturday, adult volunteers manned power tools to assemble the beds and tool shed, while youth volunteers used wheelbarrows to fill them with mulch.

Glendale Kiwanis Club President Cathy Keen said she was glad the garden has been incorporated into the daylong cleanup event.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better match,” she said. “It tied in beautifully with the city’s project.”

Event organizers said beyond cleaning up areas across the city, the event serves to bring the community together with a common goal.

At Mark Keppel, some parents who had come to drop their children off in the morning decided to stay and pitch in themselves.

“To me this is community-building,” said Joan Zierhut, a member of the Committee for a Clean & Beautiful Glendale who spearheaded the efforts at Mark Keppel, where she works as a visual arts teacher. “The icing on the cake is you get to beautify our community.

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