By MARY RAINWATER
The City of Elkhart has recently joined the affiliate program Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB), a statewide community improvement organization that opens the doors for grants and supports beautification projects in the city.
As one of the program’s more that 360 cities and county affiliates, Keep Elkhart Beautiful now joins the mission “to educate and engage Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment.”
“We first heard about the program over a year ago at an e-waste recycling event we held,” Elkhart City Secretary and KEB Director Donna Surber said Wednesday. “We began the application process and were recently notified about our acceptance.”
Surber reports that, as part of the application process, city officials were required to write bylaws and appoint board members and more.
“It was a lot of work,” she said. “But we are excited. We recently got our new signs that will be posted on the city limit signs on U.S. 287.”
KTB helps Texas communities organize volunteers and implement cleanup and educational programs that address their three focus areas of litter prevention, beautification and waste reduction.
Affiliate requirements include establishing and maintaining a local citizen based organization, participating in one litter prevention, beautification, waste reduction or community improvement program annually, attending an annual training session, and submitting an annual report.
“The program will allow us to get grants to improve our city,” Surber said. “It also helps us in educating the community on litter prevention and recycling.”
One of the city’s first projects is the cleanup and founding of a city park. Another e-waste recycling event for all county residents has also been scheduled for April.
“We want to try to do two recycling events per year and hope to get the schools involved in litter and recycling education programs,” Surber said. “In the future we hope to host an annual festival, and hope that being part of this program will help us being some attention to Elkhart.”
KTB, a state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, sponsors and coordinates education and cleanup programs such as the Great American Cleanup and the Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.
KTB provides its affiliates with free promotional materials, volunteer souvenirs, program training, and additional resources to implement activities in the community — making it a cleaner, more beautiful place to live.
Other KTB programs include Waste In Place, a youth program that emphasizes responsible solid waste handling; three distinct awards programs that recognize the contributions of youth, individuals, businesses and communities; and an extensive training program that covers a range of topics pertaining to local initiatives and programs.
“We are excited,” Surber said again. “It is going to be a lot of work and we will need a lot of volunteers to get things done.”
For information on upcoming events and how to get involved, contact Donna Surber at 903-764-5657. Erroll Tatum is the KEB program president.
For more information on how to help keep Texas beautiful in your community, call 1-800-CLEAN-TX or visit www.ktb.org.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org