Clean Sweep to make its return in Weslaco

WESLACO — This city knows how to take out the trash, and organizers and volunteers spearheading the return of a beautification effort are setting out to prove it.

The City of Weslaco is bringing back its Clean Sweep event on Saturday, Oct. 15, with coordinated efforts to scour the community by removing trash, weeds and more from the streets.

Also targeted will be alleyways and almost anything residents would like to toss at a community trash receptacle near the main site, which will be located at the Horton campus on Iowa and First Street.

Joe Pedraza, health official for the city, explained that now is the opportunity to dispose of items ordinarily not eligible for brush or garbage pickup, so long as they don’t contain Freon. Refrigerators, for example, cannot be trashed at the site.

There will be more there than the receptacle, as the DAEP grounds will serve as a registration site for participating children in addition to a community barbecue held immediately after the sweep.

“If you have a lot of stuff, something old like couches or an old shed that you couldn’t knock down because of code enforcement, well here you can and for no charge,” Pedraza said, adding that tires can also be taken. “This is going to be the day you can throw out all that old junk.”

Rebekah de la Fuente, senior planner for the city, stipulated that citizens must first show proof of residency by bringing a utility bill before using the receptacle.

Held from 8 to 11 a.m., much of the sweep will be concentrated on city streets and alleys between Texas Boulevard and Bridge, and Business 83 and Plaza. What’s more, Pedraza said the city may access properties during the event, possibly securing any abandoned structures found.

“I think over the past few years it’s been accumulating: junk throughout a few parts of town,” de la Fuente said. “This is a step toward cleaning it out.”

“We actually started it several years ago, around 2008 or 2009, but it kind of died off,” Pedraza added about the event, confirming that plans are now in place to hold a second effort. “We’re here kick-starting it again, and we’re going to start with two a year. So we’ll keep it at — doing it every year and being consistent of having one in October and one in April.”

Participating agencies include the local police and fire departments, as well as the Precinct 1 Hidalgo County Constable’s Office, area school districts and the Criminal Justice Club, JROTC and the Rio Grande Valley Medical Reserve Corps.

Rich Stubbs, lieutenant for the Weslaco Fire Department, helps lead the RGV Medical Reserve Corps youth and plans on being there to lend a hand.

“We take every opportunity to give these kids, especially teen volunteers, an opportunity to volunteer in the community,” Stubbs said. “We love to be out there and a part of something … something good.”

For more information about Clean Sweep, call (956) 447-3401.