Cleaning in the cold

Published 6:55 pm Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mary Willrodt, a member of the Ellis MIddle School National Jr. Honors Society pulls trash out of some bushes next to a walking path in northeast Austin Saturday as part of Community Pride Day. - Eric Johnson/

Residents brave rain, chilly temps for Community Pride Day

Members of the Ellis Chapter of the National Junior Honors Society pick up trash next to the walking path in northeast Austin Saturday. It was the first year the group has taken part in Community Pride Day. - Eric Johnson/

Rain, wind and temperatures in the low 40s couldn’t quell Austin resident’s community pride Saturday.

The sixth annual Community Pride Day was held Saturday morning, with volunteers braving chilly, rainy weather to clean up many of Austin’s parks and trails.

The less than perfect weather was nothing new to the event.

Email newsletter signup

“Even though this is traditionally our weather, we still get a lot of people that want to come,” said City Council member Steve King. “I don’t blame anybody if they’re not showing up on a day like this.”

King was one of the people who helped form the event in 2007, and he’s said they’ve gradually seen the amount of trash decline. In the first year, he said they hauled away a semi-load of garbage, and now they’re down to one dumpster.

“I guess that’s what we should be finding,” King said. “The first year we were pulling air conditioners and refrigerators, bikes, tires, wheels, mattresses. We’re not finding that.”

Though there are still a few big items, the bulk of the trash picked up now is just litter.

Parks and Recreation Director Kim Underwood said at least 14 area groups participated in the event this year.

Kim Underwood gets Geoff Smith along with Alex Smith and Karal Kubesh checked in before going out and taking part in Community Pride Day. - Eric Johnson/

“It shows great pride in your city to have it picked up and looking nice,” Underwood said.

Bill Kinney brought about 15 students out with the Ellis Middle School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society.

The students pick a project each year, and this year they decided to help on a project to better their community.

“Especially for young people, this helps them buy into their community a little more,” Kinney said.

The students worked to clean up trash along the bike path between Todd Park and the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

Eighth-grader Baylee Garroway, vice president, and the rest of the NJHS do one project each year as a group.

“I liked it because it was just cleaning up the city, and this is our place,” Baylee said. “I just think everyone enjoyed it for that reason.”