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Volunteers spiff up school zones
Kids returning to Mountainview Middle School and View Ridge Elementary in Bremerton this year may not even notice the freshly scrubbed and painted curbs nearby.
Chances are, though, many of them probably would have wondered why those now-clean curbs looked so grungy had it not been for a group of dedicated volunteers pitching in this past weekend to clean things up.
Milenka Hawkins-Bates, a manager at the city’s Public Works Department, put out a call for volunteers to help clean and paint the school-zone curbs because the city doesn’t have the financial resources to do ongoing maintenance.
“In our current situation, curb painting has kind of fallen by the wayside,” Hawkins-Bates said. “Both (Public Works Director Chal Martin) and I feel strongly about school zones and want to keep those highlighted and emphasized.”
Hawkins-Bates said it’s important for students to come back to school in an environment that is “bright, shiny and welcoming.”
“I just think it looks so much nicer having those curbs painted,” she said. “Since we can’t do it throughout the whole city, we can at least do certain areas with volunteers. It’s a place to start and see what we can get done. It’s something we can’t maintain on our own, but with a volunteer effort, we can do that if everybody does just a little bit to help.”
Two people, Robert Parker and Bob Dollar, who are regular faces at city hall and around town, were instrumental in the curb cleaning project.
“They’re great,” Hawkins-Bates said. “Their hearts are in the right place when it comes to the City of Bremerton. Their civic-mindedness is just a breath of fresh air.”
In all, about a dozen folks, including city streets supervisor Jim Orton and other residents, turned out to help.
Parker brought along a trailer-mounted paint sprayer, a gas powered edger and other essential equipment. He and Dollar stuck around through the afternoon to get as much done as possible, even when the paint ran out and other volunteers had moved along.
“Bob Dollar was a real champion and worked his heart out until about 4:30 p.m.,” Parker reported, noting that by the end of the day volunteers had completed a total of 1,100 to 1,200 feet of curb painting and around 1,350 to 1,500 feet of curbs were cleaned and prepped for paint.
“There remains about 400 to 500 feet of yellow (painting) to accomplish, about 250 to 300 feet of it has been cleaned and is ready to spray or roll already,” Parker added.
“It was a fun project,” Dollar said. “I’m glad we get to do stuff like that and work with our schools and the city. The hardest part of the whole job was probably cleaning the grass off the curbs. That took us the most time.”
One area where the curbs still need attention is Bremerton High School.
“The two schools that we did get accomplished require a lot of curb preparation, whereas the high school doesn’t need as much as that,” Hawkins-Bates said. “So, we’re hoping to get it done before school starts in about a week.”
In the end, Hawkins-Bates said the project was a success.
“It was a lot more work than we anticipated, but it was fun,” she said. “Whenever you can get a group of people that doesn’t know each other meeting new friends and feeling really good about what you’ve done, it’s a great thing.”