Things look a little different in Mountain View these days. The community in north Anchorage just finished their 25th annual community-wide clean-up. This year they were joined by other city residents to improve their green space as well. KSKA’s Anne Hillman learned more.
Behind clean-up coordinator and longtime Mountain View resident Scott Kohlhaas, massive machines scoop mattresses and old couches into dumpsters.
“We’re taking everything from hazmat, electronics, car batteries, tires, metal, general trash…” he lists as he looks around at the groups of old refrigerators and piles of metal.
Over a week, the community collected about 200 tons of waste to be thrown out or recycled. Most of it has already been hauled away.
“There’s a lot of mobility here, lots of transition, so there’s lots of stuff in apartments that people have moved from, lots of stuff in the streets, in the alleys. It’s a constant struggle” to keep the area clean, Kohlhaas explains.
But Kohlhaas says when residents come together to clear it away, it improves the community atmosphere. “Yeah, there’s no doubt there’s more pride,” he says. “It’s the broken window syndrome. If we fix the broken window then everyone cares, and it’s gonna be a better place. And if we leave it broken then they’re gonna break the other windows. I think it makes big difference and I think people are proud of how it looks right now.”
Though it’s the 25th annual community-wide clean up in Mountain View, it’s the first-ever Neighborhood Park Fix-it at Davis park. The park is a small plot of wooded land with trails running through it next to a giant playground. Community members initiated the event to improve the safety of the area.
Mountain View Lions Club member Amy Orange Posma drags bags of trash filled with things like power cords and pillows from abandoned homeless camps in the park. She says historically many homeless people have lived here, but the area is for everyone.
“This is a marvelous little chunk of trees, wild nature — and you have a street right there, schools over that way, housing. It’s just a lovely little refuge in Anchorage. All the parks are.”
Further down the path, Tony Lukian and members of his church group from south Anchorage are clipping back brush from the trail that winds through the trees.
He explains they’re doing it “just to create some visibility into the woods, you know. Make it a little bit more safe. Give people a little more clearance. Whether it be wildlife, any other dangers, possible hazards.”
Anchorage Parks and Recreation volunteer coordinator Mirna Estrada explains that trimming the brush helps give residents a place they feel comfortable gathering.
“Parks are great for our development, creating bonds with our friends and our family and our community.” She pauses and ducks as a volunteer snips a sapling right on top of Estrada. Uninjured and laughing, she continues. “See we’re bonding with nature!”
The clean-up is attracting new people to the park as well, like Rebecca Castleman, who recently moved in just a few miles away. “We thought, it’s our first time here at the park, we wanted to see what it’s all about, maybe clear some of the trails, and then we can enjoy it with our two little girls.”
The Park project marked the end of this year’s citywide clean-up week.
Parks and Recreaction has Park clean ups planned for the entire summer. Find out more at muni.org.