|Students Instrumental in 5-Ton Effort|
The day after finals is traditionally a day for relaxation and stress release for college students who aren't packing to go home for the summer. However, last Friday proved to be a workout for members of Hays Neighbors and nearly a dozen students from Alpha Gamma Rho. At about 9:30 a.m. the group met at 8th and Ash for a final planning session before embarking on a record-setting large item cleanup effort in the neighborhood that was made possible in part to a good public relations effort beforehand.
Although last fall's pre-FHSU Homecoming cleanup netted an impressive 3.75 tons, a total surpassing 5 tons was collected and taken to the Ellis County Transfer Station by 2 p.m. Friday. In addition to that amount seven loads of limbs and brush were transported to Hays's city compost site and numerous e-waste items were taken to Ellis County's new collection center. Although Hays Neighbors and Alpha Gamma Rho provided the labor, trucks, and trailers necessary to accomplish this, it would not have been possible without the cooperation of local government. Because the city and county would have had to deal with the costs of collection if the items were allowed to set in alleys until October, they agreed to shoulder the costs of an early pre-commencement pickup. Michael Graf, Ellis County Public Works director, agreed to waive the fees for white metals and construction and demolition waste, as well as e-waste. Brenda Herrman, Public Works Director for the city of Hays agreed to pick up the tab for the municipal waste portion of this spring’s volunteer clean-up.
The Large Item Klean-up Effort, a name coined by the Hays Beautification Committee, was intended to improve the aesthetics of the area south of 8th Street and west of Main Street prior to the summer events in the area. Most of the disposed items are generated by residents in the area who are moving or returning home after a year of studies at Fort Hays State University. Paul Wildeman, member of Hays Neighbors, stated, "We are aware that this area is seen as the gateway to Fort Hays University and the face of Hays when the Wild West Fest and other activities are held in this area. We want our neighborhood to look its best for these events."