JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF
KINGSLAND — What started online during the Kingsland incorporation initiative of 2011 is now taking to the streets.Melissa Eddy followed an online forum discussing the pros and cons of the initiative. After the incorporation initiative’s defeat, Eddy recognized an opportunity to better the community.
“I got to thinking, you know it would be a shame after this went away if all this civic engagement just disappears,” she said.
A meeting soon after with Shelly Comerford led to the formation of the nonprofit organization Keep Kingsland Beautiful.
“There were good issues brought up during the incorporation effort,” Comerford said. “Why can’t we as a community pull together and do something to clean up Kingsland without creating an entire other layer of a governmental entity to take care of that?”
Keep Kingsland Beautiful was incorporated in January 2012 and received its 501(c )(3) status in November.
Comerford said the organization’s focus is to educate and help Kingsland residents.
“People don’t realize the recycling opportunities we have available in Kingsland,” Comerford said. “This is a way to get people an avenue to recycle more and to educate people about all the avenues that are available.”
Keep Kingsland Beautiful organized a cleanup day last year, adopted a stretch of RR 1431 and has been responsible for a trash trailer at the Slab.
Eddy said volunteers went through dozens of trash bags during the first highway cleanup last August. The recent quarterly highway cleanup went much quicker with less trash.
“It’s nice to see that we’re really having that kind of effect,” Eddy said. “That’s one of the beauties of all the volunteers, neighbor helping neighbor. It doesn’t take a whole lot to make a difference.”
The Slab trailer began last July 4 weekend. With no trash bins for the popular hangout, trash accumulated all over the rocky, watery terrain.
After the trial run of the trash trailer, Comerford said hardly any trash was left to be picked up.
“I think we picked up one cup, maybe one paper bag. Other than that, it was really clean,” she said. “That was the pilot run, so we said why not do this every weekend.”
Keep Kingsland Beautiful also works with property owners or others who need help cleaning their property. The group has worked to clean debris scattered around backyards, in informal dumping grounds and on lots with unkempt buildings.
Comerford said the group likes to help those who are elderly, disabled or who might not have the money to get the equipment to move a trailer full of trash to a dump in Llano or Burnet.
“One requirement for them, however, because we’re not the trash company for Kingsland, is in some form or fashion they contribute,” she said.
To contact Keep Kingsland Beautiful or to volunteer, visit www.keepkingslandbeautiful.org or call (830) 385-6833.