Adopt-a-Street Program: A Community Effort to Keep Mansfield Beautiful
Mar 17, 2017 04:33PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger
Keep Mansfield Beautiful is an affiliate of the state program, Keep Texas Beautiful, whose origins are tied to keeping state highways litter-free.
Adopt-a-Street is the city version of the state program. Over time, Keep Texas Beautiful has evolved into a program with a broader mission and vision than just keeping roadways clean, and the local affiliates have followed suit.
The program predates Keep Mansfield Beautiful’s move from under Parks to Environmental. KMB began in 1986 and Adopt-a-Street has been a part of the program since the beginning.
We had a few more questions for her after that, so we reached out to learn a little bit more about this great initiative. Luckily, Jan Hurlbut and Stephanie worked together to answer a few questions for us!
What's one thing that we definitely need to know about the program?The immense value that this program brings to the community.
It’s estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Independent Sector Organization that the National Value of Volunteer Time for the state of Texas is $25.11 per hour. We have 38 locations spoken for. If a minimum of 10 people at each location volunteered a minimum of three hours per each of the three required cleanup events, that equates to over $85,000 in volunteer time.
The city did not have to pay an outside contractor for this service. That money stays in the community and people are empowered by that fact that they personally are making a difference in their community.
On the flip side of that, the program also has costs. The printing and maintenance of signs are expensive. The city also supplies all of the cleanup supplies for the required tri-annual clean up events at each location. Program fees defray costs from the city and allows Keep Mansfield Beautiful to help support educational events and build their own program offerings for the community.
How does this positively impact Mansfield?The benefits of the program are two-fold. Obviously, clean up initiatives are a beautification effort which has multiple positive impacts including: helps increase perceived property values, helps reduce the spread of crime since a well maintained area implies that someone is watching and maintaining the area, instills pride in the community, gives a sense of ownership and responsibility to volunteers.
Another important benefit, and why the coordination of Keep Mansfield Beautiful falls under Environmental Management, is this program keeps trash not just off of our streets but also out of our waterways. Trash rarely stays put. Wind and rain often send it straight to our creeks and streams.
Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates like Keep Mansfield Beautiful are partnering with city public education staff across the state because their efforts are not only protecting the quality of the local water bodies that we use for recreation, but that we also depend upon for our drinking water supply.
Mansfield’s individual efforts to keep our waterways clean does not directly impact our direct water supply (which is 67 miles away in Cedar Creek and Richland Chambers) but it impacts the drinking water supplies of communities downstream. Putting strategies in place that aim to keep our local water bodies trash free is one of the requirements of the state mandated stormwater management plan, which is implemented by the environmental manager.
Participants of Adopt-a-Street are keeping Mansfield Beautiful, but they are also making themselves partners in the effort to keep our waterways pollution free making Mansfield stewards of our creeks and streams, but also good neighbors to our friends downstream that may depend upon those sources for their drinking water. This benefits not only people, but the fish, flora, and other fauna that depend on these water sources as habitat and food supply.
Get involved by contacting Keep Mansfield Beautiful. The easiest way is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have general questions, you can contact, Stephanie Zavala, a public education specialist with Mansfield Water Utilities, who also serves as the KMB Coordinator and who can direct you to the appropriate board member within KMB at 817-728-3610.
How can someone get involved?
Anything else we should know?As mentioned there are program costs associated with the Adopt a Street program. This has been true since the beginning of the program. Currently, it costs a participant $120 for the first two years and $45 each year after.
Our board members assigned to this project have been invaluable to getting it going again and providing more oversight. Participants can expect to receive more recognition and appreciation for their greatly valued volunteer time. These are the businesses and residents that don’t always toot their own horn, but we want to make sure we make the community aware of all the great work happening in Mansfield.
For organizations without the budget for Adopt a Street, the Love Your Neighbor program provides a free volunteer alternative. Love Your Neighbor is a new name for an old program.
Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Mansfield, Priscilla Sanchez, works tirelessly to coordinate volunteer participation across the city. In fiscal year 2016, Priscilla coordinated over six thousand volunteers resulting in over 24,000 volunteer hours. Volunteerism is truly the epitome of demonstrating love of city and neighbor.
To learn more about how you can get involved, you can visit the Keep Mansfield Beautiful website.