By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
The City of Liberal has recently expressed great concern regarding the cleanliness of the community. On Sept. 20, commissioners and city staff met in an effort to discuss ways to clean up the community. City Manager Mark Hall, with the help of city staff, presented commissioners with a plan Monday evening.
“This is to take pride in the community,” Hall said. “We want to make Liberal a community of choice. Based on your input and instruction, we think this is something that has tackled all angles to make Liberal cleaner.
Staff has taken upon Liberal Pride City Wide – that is what we have titled this program,” he explained. “I think it would be very impressive to the community, to have the city’s assistance to make Liberal a cleaner place.”
Hall presented commissioners with a flyer detailing all programs the city will be willing to offer and assist with if approved by the commission.
The Adopt-A-Street Program will provide participants with sign recognition at the end of the stretch of road adopted, the flyer noted.
“Adopt-A-Street Program is provided through a joint agreement between the City of Liberal’s Solid Waste and Street Departments for individuals, businesses and organizations who are interested in adopting and cleaning a stretch of road in Liberal,” Hall noted in the description. “Once you have completed an application, the city will provide blue trash bags, safety vests and reusable gloves. Litter sticks are also available on a limited basis.”
The Adopt-A-Block program was similar, Hall said.
“You can improve the curb appeal of your neighborhood through the Adopt-A-Block Program,” the flyer noted. “Whether you’re working alone or as a group, it’s easy to make your block neat and tidy. Once you’ve completed an application, the city will provide blue trash bags and gloves for your cleanup.”
The Adopt-A-Litter Container Program would assist the city with the cleanliness of high-pedestrian traffic areas throughout the City of Liberal.
“When you volunteer for the Adopt-A-Litter Container Program, you’re helping up keep these litter containers accessible and ready for use,” the flyer noted. “Select from two levels of involvement by either removing filled bags from the litter container and place them in your garbage container or monitoring the litter container and notifying the Solid Waste Department when the container needs to be emptied.”
The Adopt-A-Park program is another that will receive sign recognition, Hall said.
“The Adopt-A-Park Program is based on the premise that citizens make a difference in ensuring that every park, children’s playground or natural area is clean, safe and well maintained,” the flyer noted. “By adopting a park, you can make a difference in the way the park looks and operates. Once you have completed an application, the city will provide blue trash bags, safety vests and reusable gloves.”
The Business Cleanup Challenge Program involves local business in the city cleanup premise.
“Businesses take the city’s 15-minute cleaning challenge at least once a month and register to pick up litter around their business,” the flyer noted. “It is easy to make your business neat and tidy. Once you’ve registered, the city will provide blue trash bags and gloves for your clean up challenge.”
The Neighborhood Cleanup Program requires neighbors to work together to better their own areas of the city.
“Organize a group and identify the specific needs in your area, then tailor your cleanup effort with city staff to meet those needs,” the flyer noted. “Once you’ve completed an application, the city will provide blue trash bags, safety vests, dumpsters, paint, tools and reusable gloves.”
The Schoolyard Cleanup Program not only assists specific schools in their cleanup process, but will make a $250 grant available to each participating school for the environmental project of choice of each school.
“Every spring when the snow melts, school grounds need a little extra attention to make sure they’re clean and safe,” the flyer noted. “The City of Liberal offers an exciting program from March to June that lets elementary, junior and senior high students show school pride and share the responsibility of a cleaner community. Each school that is registered will receive blue trash bags for the cleanup.”
The City Commission Community Cleanup Litter Grant Program is for non-profit organizations wishing to help with the cleaning process. A $300 grant will be awarded to each participating organization.
“The cleanup takes place between April 14 and May 31 with additional cleanups throughout the summer and fall,” the flyer noted. “Upon approval, the City of Liberal will mail a check for $300 to the organization. The deadline for applications is March 15. Applications are available at city hall.”
The Tool Lending Center will assist individuals with tools in an effort to help them fix up their areas in a more cost-effective fashion.
“The Tool Lending Center aims to assist homeowners and neighborhood groups in undertaking landscaping projects, yard cleanups, community rebuilding and other improvement projects,” the flyer noted. “The operating principles of the program are similar to the traditional library concept – a selection of tools or equipment can be borrowed by Liberal residents for a limited period of time at no charge. The goals of the program are to support homeownership and maintenance, to assist in the revitalization of neighborhoods and encourage beautification of property. By participating in this program, participants agree to verify residency by presenting a valid photo ID and a water utility bill displaying a City of Liberal address.”
The City of Liberal Trash Coupon Program will assist in trash removal from respective properties.
“This program is a cooperative effort between the city and residents to eliminate city code violations and to offer assistance to individual property owners for improvement of their properties,” the flyer noted. “The City of Liberal trash coupon will allow residents free dumping at the Seward County Landfill. Coupons are available at city hall.”
The Graffiti Removal Program is available in two forms, Hall said. The Graffiti Removal Program and the Free Paint Program are directed toward the same purpose – the removal of graffiti throughout the City of Liberal.
“This is a city-operated program to remove graffiti from private property as quickly as possible in order to improve neighborhoods and discourage further graffiti,” the flyer noted. “The program is offered citywide at no cost to property owners or tenants. Just call the Code Enforcement Division at 626-4357. Leave your name, address, daytime phone number and the exact location of graffiti on your property. You will also need to indicate whether you wish to utilize the Graffiti Removal Program or the Free Paint Program.
“If the Graffiti Removal Program is chosen, within about two weeks, the city will make every effort to clean, remove or cover the graffiti with white, grey or beige primer,” the flyer explained. “This program is designed to remove graffiti and not color match the graffiti area precisely.
“The Free Paint Program provides for free paint to be used specifically for removing graffiti from the exterior of buildings,” the flyer continued. “The city encourages private citizens individually or collectively to remove graffiti from private property. Such efforts expedite removal of graffiti and can significantly reduce the expenditure of public funds. City staff will then verify the location of graffiti and determine the quantity of paint needed. You will receive a voucher with information on how to pick up your free paint. Through this program, every effort will be made to match colors, but the cleaned, processed or coated area may not match precisely.”
Hall expects the project to possibly cost the City of Liberal $62,928. He explained it would be the first-year cost only if all programs were utilized to full capacity.
Commissioners agreed Hall’s proposal would assist in the cleanup of the City of Liberal and approved the all programs move forward with a unanimous vote.