GMSP: America in Bloom volunteers honored for cleanup effort

July 07, 2010
Santa Paula News

Recognition bloomed at the June Good Morning Santa Paula, where a stalwart group of volunteers was honored for their part in beautifying the city.

The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event was hosted by E. J. Harrison & Sons and held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport.

America in Bloom volunteers Janice Dickenson, Sue Paul and Karen and Mike Lynch were honored with a Beautification Project Recognition for their efforts in grooming public areas now neglected due to the shrunken city coffer. “We have people who work hard in our community, who do good things just to do good,” said Moderator Ben Schuck.

Dickenson said the effort started with the formation of an America in Bloom chapter in Santa Paula, suggested by Dianne Davis and now a full-blown volunteer organization. Sue Paul contacted Dickenson and the Lynches to discuss “the weeds around town,” and then, said Dickenson, “she said let’s do something about it. It was Sue’s idea... city money is very tight and employees have been laid off. There’s not enough city staff now to take care of these things.”

The volunteers targeted the neglected intersection of Santa Paula and Cameron streets, an effort Dickenson said “didn’t take long... the next day we went to Fagan Barranca Park.” The work resulted in “tons and tons of cuttings, and not just us... a church group joined us” in cleaning up, “people jogging or riding by stopped to help,” a joint effort Dickenson said was fun as well as productive.

“Thirteen tons of debris,” said Mike Lynch, resulted from volunteer cleanup. “We found out we have many friends in town,” and Dickenson said it was “amazing how many people stop” to help or even offer an encouraging car honk as they pass the workers.

“These guys have done a fabulous job here,” said John Chamberlain, who explained how America in Bloom is a national organization devoted to beautifying their communities. The results of such efforts have far-reaching impacts, from reducing vandalism and increasing property values to instilling “community involvement and pride.”

Chamberlain said America in Bloom is seeking new members and is encouraging churches and schools to become involved, as well as finalizing formal organizational plans. A grant to beautify the 10th Street corridor was submitted by Ginger Gherardi and the city, and Chamberlain said more funding opportunities are being examined.

Karen Lynch said the city “has been a marvelous partner,” by providing tools and equipment and haul-away services of 106 barrels filled by the volunteers. The effort “saved the city about $10,000,” noted Mike Lynch.

“I want to stress America in Bloom can be big projects, but they don’t have to be,” as, said Chamberlain, if more small projects were initiated the result would be the “whole town will look better. Everybody can do this,” formally or even on their own. He suggested that those interested visit the Santa Paula America in Bloom Facebook page.

Mayor Jim Tovias congratulated and thanked the volunteers, and said the City Council will consider a more formal relationship with America in Bloom at a coming meeting. “On behalf of the city, we really appreciate their efforts,” as, noted Tovias, “that project was monumental.”

John Macik/Santa Paula Chevrolet provides the Chamber award plaques.

 





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