OCEANSIDE — The Libby Lake community is counting down the days until its big trash cleanup March 5. Students in the Vista Community Clinic REACH afterschool program, church groups adopt-a-block efforts, neighborhood groups and the city will work together to bring in and fill two dumpsters with unwanted household items and yard waste.
“It’s a way of partnering with individuals who are already doing the work,” Maria Yanez, city neighborhood services management analyst, said.
The city holds big trash item cleanups four times a year in different neighborhoods. City staff partner with community groups that help plan the day and recruit volunteers.
A few dozen volunteers have already committed to help with the Libby Lake cleanup. Yanez said once the cleanup starts more neighbors often spontaneously join in to help.
Efforts clean up the community and unify neighbors.
Volunteers go door to door and ask residents if they have unwanted large items in their home, garage or yard. Often volunteers go a step beyond and spot and haul unwanted items left in alleyways, or help elderly residents to move boxes and do light yard work.
Car parts, paint and electronic waste can not be collected, but information is shared on how to safety dispose of those items.
The city provides gloves, trash bags, trash pickup tools and water for volunteers. Yanez said residents often ask to keep extra supplies so they can continue clean up efforts on their own. “It instills community pride,” Yanez said.
Students in the REACH program have already initiated a monthly park cleanup as one of their service learning projects. Kesha Spoor, Vista Community Clinic youth development program manager, said the drop-in program draws students who want to make a difference.
Libby Lake neighbors have come together over the past few years to clean up and take back their neighborhood. Community events are regularly held at the park and mural and beautification project were completed by REACH students last year.
“When some people think of Libby Lake they still think it’s a very dangerous place, after the tragic shooting that killed two young people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Yanez said. “Residents want to prove there is more to that neighborhood, and I think may have now.”
Yanez said the city began quarterly community cleanups two years ago when the annual SUN project was discontinued.
The SUN project went a step further and recruited volunteers to paint, do heavy yard work and light home repairs.
Yanez said the city found that it could not continue to fund and manage the SUN project that involved more than 1,000 volunteers and multiple neighborhood blocks. She added that neighborhoods have kept up their homes following SUN project efforts, and the quarterly cleanups are a good follow-up action.
Past community cleanups have been done in the Eastside neighborhood and back gate neighborhood that borders Camp Pendleton.
March 5 efforts will include a volunteer breakfast and light lunch at Libby Lake Park. Volunteers start at 8:30 a.m.