The town’s first Keep Bewnie Buena event, an expansion of the long-standing spring River Park Cleanup, drew about 150 people of all ages to pick up surface trash not just near the river, but throughout the town.
“This year we opted to be more downtown, more centralized, and it worked out pretty well,” said BV Rec director Earl Richmond. “We sent them out to about 15 geographical areas around town.”
In the days prior to the cleanup, a bright blue Chaffee County Waste dumpster was parked just off East Main in the South Railroad Street parking lot. On Sunday, volunteers of all ages filled that whole thing, all 30 yards of it, in the span of about 2 hours, Richmond said.
“Our primary focus was the Railroad corridor because it goes right through the heart of town and backs up to a lot of businesses and the school and it’s a great collector of trash,” said Richmond.
Groups also went to Avery-Parsons Elementary School, McPhelemy Park, Columbine Park and the river park, among others.
One area that yielded a bountiful harvest of refuse was County Road 371.
Alleyways downtown and the pump track, skate park, the community center and athletic fields also got a working over Sunday.
“A pretty broad demographic came out,” Richmond said. “A lot of families, which was really good to see. People were excited to help out.”
Common items of trash that were picked up included plastic bottles, tin cans and glass bottles.
“The fourth culprit this year was the mask,” Richmond said. “Lots of masks were found. And then probably the fifth would be cigarette butts.”
The Buena Vista River Park cleanups have frequently faced temperamental weather during this time of the year when it seems Mother Nature is having a hard time making a clean break from winter. Did Keep Bewnie Buena fare better?
“Depends on which moment,” Richmond said with a laugh. “Yes, it wasn’t snowing or raining, but it got really windy when we were setting up … By the time we got the event started, it was great. Great conditions.”
Richmond said that the town is already planning on how to do KBB better next year, as well as whether to host a second event in the fall.
“There’s a lot of areas of town. For example, the Rodeo Grounds is a big, big bite we want to chew next year, Gregg Drive, things like that,” Richmond said.