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Pick a spot, any spot

One of the programs the Hays Beautification Committee sponsors in conjunction with the Hays Parks Department is the Adopt-A-Spot program. The purpose of the Adopt-A-Spot program is to create and maintain a clean, litter-free community, providing an optimal appearance to the residents and visitors of Hays alike.

The idea of a public/private partnership for highway and street cleanup programs originated in the 1980s when James Evans, an engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, noticed the amount of trash that was collecting along the roadsides in his district. Litter cleanup by the city was expensive, so Evans and a Texas DOT public information officer, Billy Black, sought the help of local groups to sponsor the cleaning of sections of the highway.

In 1985, their efforts led to quarterly cleanup cycles when the Tyler, Texas, Civitan Club became the first group to volunteer, adopting 2 miles along U.S. Route 69. The program proved to be successful and since has spread to 49 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

Doris Wing is the coordinator for the Hays Beautification Committee for our Adopt-A-Spot program. Several community organizations and businesses already volunteer to clean along specific streets and green spaces in Hays. Additional volunteers always are needed, so if your club or organization would be interested in joining this effort, contact the department at (785) 628-7375 to sign up for an area where you would like to pick up the litter.

The parks department will provide trash bags that can be picked up at the department office. The group should inform the department of the date the litter will be collected so it promptly can pick up and dispose of the trash bags. Groups are asked to complete a litter pick-up a minimum of two times per year.

When you join Hays Adopt-A-Spot efforts, you become a vital part of an important public/private partnership that's dedicated to keeping our city clean and attractive. No special skills or experiences are required -- just a commitment to the community and concern for the environment.

In addition to keeping the community clean and beautiful, the city of Hays is continuing its efforts to enhance water conservation by employing Jason Reigel as the water conservation specialist to help coordinate water conservation opportunities with residential and commercial water users.

Opportunities for the community to work with the water conservation specialist will be discussed in future articles

For more information, contact the parks department at (785) 628-7375.

Janis Lee is vice chairwoman of the Hays Beautification Committee.