GilaPROUD: Community cleanups and more in 2021

Courtesy photo Volunteers pick up trash along Hwy 60.

The Silver Belt recently reported on a new Highway 60 Cleanup and Beautification Project, a collaboration between local businesses, cities and towns, governments and agencies to clean up and improve the main arterial route through Globe and Miami. Now going by the catchier name GilaPROUD, with a growing Facebook group united under that same name, the goal is to clean, repair, maintain and beautify the Hwy. 60 corridor to improve aesthetics and public safety of the main traffic artery in Globe and Miami.

Proof of success will be immediately observable, and long-lasting effects will be measurable as tourist traffic increases, as families and workers make this area their home, as developers choose this area to build, and as businesses – small and large – open their doors. Partners hope another value will be a decrease in criminal behavior, which is proven to decline when public spaces are obviously well-maintained. The project will employ two landscapers (apply today at gilacountyaz.gov; both jobs are open until they’re filled) who will work together as a team. Gila County Grants Administrator Aimee Staten is among GilaPROUD organizers; this week the Silver Belt caught up with her for a brief interview.
How, when and why did GilaPROUD begin?

“The concept for GilaPROUD was born out of a need to have a central place for the county to gather data, events and mobilize volunteers to clean and beautify communities in the Globe-Miami area. The reason was to have that information when we came across grants that could benefit the cause.” “Neil Jensen, president of the Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center board, was already working on a project to clean up and beautify the Hwy. 60 corridor to make the community more attractive for prospective medical staff. The county began talking to potential partners, which gathered in February 2021 to solidify funding and determine the best path forward.”
What are their activities and accomplishments?

“GilaPROUD was formed about halfway through the Covid pandemic in 2020, and we began to make phone calls to find out who and what agencies were active in cleanups. It wasn’t long before it became clear that there were people who had already invested in this community through other committees and clubs, the need was for mobilization.”

That was when she met Regina Ortega, who represents Family and Friends of Cathy Canez, who died in a flash flood in 2019. “Regina is a bit of a force of nature. She has organized monthly (and sometimes weekly and twice-weekly) Trash Mob cleanups that attracted groups between 15 to 30 in number. Their hard work was evident in the freshly cleaned streets and highway in time for the first-ever AZ Poppy Fest.”

How does GilaPROUD differ from Globe Clean & Beautiful? Does the latter still exist?

“I’ve heard that Globe Clean and Beautiful was an active volunteer group a decade ago, but had gone dormant until recently when Michelle Yerkovich with the City of Globe revived it and began to mobilize volunteers to join ‘Trash Mob’ community cleanups,” Staten said. “These added to progress already being made by the Dollar Dump Days hosted by Gila County and property cleanups that are the focus of Globe’s Code Enforcement and economic development.”  

At this point, GilaPROUD is a project under the umbrella of Gila County. Representatives from the various agencies will meet periodically to review the progress of the highway cleanup and determine what additional projects are desired. Do you know a street or neighborhood that could use a volunteer cleanup effort?  

Connect with us and post a comment at facebook.com/GilaPROUD.

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