Last updated: July 28. 2014 1:28PM - 829 Views
By - ncooke@civitasmedia.com



Faith Bemiss | DemocratVolunteers for Sedalia Clean Sweep gather around City Administrator Gary Edwards as he explains which direction they will go early Saturday morning on East 20th Street at Ohio Avenue. The 10 volunteers were part of Team Three. Behind Edwards is Ward 2 Councilman Russell Driskell, to the left is Ward 3 Councilman Bob Cross. Also helping on Team Three were several volunteers from Whiteman Air Force Base, on left, Senior Airman Eme D. Natividad and Staff Sgt. Tashonna Brown.
Faith Bemiss | DemocratVolunteers for Sedalia Clean Sweep gather around City Administrator Gary Edwards as he explains which direction they will go early Saturday morning on East 20th Street at Ohio Avenue. The 10 volunteers were part of Team Three. Behind Edwards is Ward 2 Councilman Russell Driskell, to the left is Ward 3 Councilman Bob Cross. Also helping on Team Three were several volunteers from Whiteman Air Force Base, on left, Senior Airman Eme D. Natividad and Staff Sgt. Tashonna Brown.
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Sedalia community members and volunteers from Whiteman Air Force Base spent their Saturday morning trying to make Sedalia look a little nicer.


The volunteers were part of the July Sedalia Clean Sweep and they tackled streets south of Broadway Boulevard from Ohio Avenue to Limit Avenue, the biggest area so far. Jamie Bethel, coordinator of Clean Sweep and Housing Specialist with Sedalia Community Development, and her team of volunteers spent the last week distributing door hangers to inform residents they were in this month’s designated area. On Saturday, they got to work.


“Everyone meets at the city garage, signs in, and we provide breakfast and water, then we suit up and divide into teams,” she said. “There are usually four to five teams with four to five people on each team. We assign them a block area. We clean trash in ditches and right of ways, and we help people get items from their yard to the curb, like if an elderly lady needs help getting brush from her backyard to the front.”


The Clean Sweep events have been happening every month since last year, with a break during the colder winter months. Bethel said they’ve completed almost half the city. Currently volunteers come from Sedalia organizations and Whiteman AFB, but Bethel said she’d like to see more residents get involved.


“We’re not quite sure where we’ll go with it next year,” she said. “I’d like to see more volunteers that come from Sedalia. I think you’ve got to make people buy into what that means to have your neighborhood clean. To just be a part of that and be tuned into it. If you don’t it’s very hard to sell to people.”


As the events have continued, Bethel said it has gotten a little easier. She knows what she needs and what to expect each month, plus she has the support of Open Door, which provides food for breakfast and lunch, Whiteman AFB, the Public Works Department staff, the Community Development staff, and residents who help notify their neighbors when the Clean Sweep team will be headed their way.


“We’ve logged a huge amount of trash we’ve taken out,” Bethel said. “We’ve taken probably more than 200 tires over the course of this year. That’s a lot to get out of neighborhoods. It says we’re out there and here to help, not here to punish anyone. And if (residents) take advantage of our muscle and volunteers, that can be a lot off their back.”


According to the Public Works Department, Clean Sweep volunteers on average take out 20 tons of trash during each event, including four truckloads of yard waste and 50 tires. Bethel said the volunteers have logged almost 1,500 total hours.


“That’s a lot,” she said. “Sometimes it can feel like a slow process. You don’t feel effective until you see those numbers.”


There will not be a Clean Sweep in August. It will pick back up in September, and the date will be announced later. For more information or to volunteer, contact Bethel at 827-3000 ext. 139.


 
 
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