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Beautification Committee to roll up sleeves for trash pick-up
• Plans to take on Smyrna Park on May 22
Trash in Ceres
Trash eyesores abound in Ceres, such as here along El Camino Avenue just north of the Service Road overpass. - photo by Jeff Benziger

The recently formed city of Ceres Beautification Committee was intended to be a think tank for ways to reduce blight and improve aesthetics. But after months of talking and coming up with ideas and seeing little results, the group is preparing to roll up their sleeves and get to work – physically picking up trash.

“The committee was supposed to be a think group, but now feel we need to get all of Ceres involved in taking care of our city,” said Committee member Richard “Dick” McKay. “This is our first outward step to attempt in motivating others to make Ceres a better place to work and live.

“Citizens do not demonstrate a pride in their city. We have trash and junk everywhere. We, the committee have been meeting for over a year and honestly have not made much of a mark on our mission to make Ceres a better place to live. So, at our last meeting we decided to pull up our sleeves and demonstrate to the citizens of Ceres what we are all about.”

At its recent meeting, the committee decided to set up a three-hour cleanup beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 22. Members of the committee will be meeting to clean up Smyrna Park and hope an army of volunteers show up so that other park sites can be cleaned up.

“I’m still trying to hammer out some of the details,” said Ceres City Manager Tom Westbrook, “but we’ll probably try to limit the number of volunteers for this first one just to make sure that it works pretty well and then hopefully replicating that at other areas of town or other park sites in the future.” 

He said the May 22 effort will not be on the same scale of a Love Ceres event but something “smaller and more nimble and easier to handle with some greater frequencies. Maybe that can achieve the success of cleaning up the community.”

The city still offers the Adopt-A-Park program so that groups of people can volunteer to pick up trash in Ceres parks. Those efforts help free up city parks staff member who can then work on other maintenance.

Westbrook said the committee has had a positive influence on city policy makers. One such area was lobbying the council to keep the leaf and limb program intact instead of scrapping it.