Spring weather prompts community cleanups

Posted: Thursday, May 01, 2003

Spring cleaning may be a dirty job, but with warm temperatures and sunny skies making more frequent appearances on the Kenai Peninsula, now is the time to do it.

If mounds of yard debris from this fall's high winds and the roadside refuse revealed by melted snow isn't enough impetus to spur people to get cleaning, cleanup activities are planned in the central peninsula to help supply some motivation.

The first happens Saturday in Kenai. Sponsored by the Kenai Lions Club and ConocoPhillips, this event will serve as the city's annual cleanup day, which in past years was organized by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.

This year's event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and be headquartered at the Kenai Green Strip Park by the softball fields. Participants can get trash bags at the park starting at 9 a.m. Event organizers can assign people to specific areas in Kenai to clean or participants can choose their own areas.

Individuals, businesses, service clubs, schools, churches, youth groups, families and anyone else who wants to can form groups to pick up trash and compete for prizes.

Filled trash bags should be returned to the park between noon and 1 p.m. Peninsula Sanitation will provide a container to dispose of bags in. First-, second- and third-place prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded in youth and adult categories to whoever returns the most bags of trash, whether it's an individual or group. In addition, two $150 gift certificates for a boys' and a girls' bike will be awarded through a raffle open to all children who participate.

Terry Linebarger, president of the Kenai Lions Club, warns parents to be sure children are safe when picking up garbage, especially by roadsides. In addition, everyone should wear gloves and masks when they're out cleaning, he said.

After the cleanup, a hot dog barbecue will be held for participants starting at about 11:30 a.m. after they wash their hands, of course.

"I think there will be a good turnout there always has been in the past," Linebarger said. "And I think the weather will be good. This is a good fund-raiser for youth groups, or any group, really."

Whether it's the shot at prize money or a sense of community pride, the Lions Club invites anyone interested to help clean Kenai.

Two weeks down the road, the Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce will sponsor a cleanup week, from May 12 to 17. Trash bags will be available at the chamber offices for anyone wanting to do some community cleanup on their own.

Bags will be picked up by Peninsula Sanitation along major roadways during the week. Bags will be collected on Kalifornsky Beach Road and in Kasilof on May 12; in Soldotna on May 13; along the northern Sterling Highway to Neighbors Drive, Beaver Loop Road to Strawberry Road and Bridge Access Road on May 14; and in Kenai on May 15.

On May 17, the North Peninsula Community Council will put on a similar cleanup event in Nikiski. This event will be headquartered at the North Peninsula Recreation Center and run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to the three groups that collect the most garbage that day. Groups need to sign up at 9 a.m. and bring their full trash bags back to the rec center to be eligible for the prizes.

A free barbecue for participants will be held after the cleanup from 4 to 6 p.m. Prizes, including pizzas and bicycles, will be raffled off at that time to cleanup participants who signed up and returned trash bags. Participants need to be present to win. Peninsula Sanitation will collect the trash bags from the event.

Nikiski cleanup isn't limited to this event. Trash bags will be available at both Nikiski fire stations for anyone who wants to clean up garbage before or after the event.

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