Similar-size cities compete for state grants
LITTLE ELM, TX – Efforts to keep Little Elm as a clean, attractive and welcoming community characterize the work of the many volunteers who participate in clean-ups under the auspices of the year-round Keep Little Elm Beautiful campaign, this year the winner of second place in the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards program for its category. For the second year in a row, Little Elm’s nomination for the award in category six, cities and towns between 25,000 and 40,000 population, placed second, behind Lake Jackson. The Governor’s Community Achievement Award, part of the Keep Texas Beautiful Program, recognizes the results of cleanup and beautification efforts in ten population categories, and the ten first place winners receive Landscape Awards of between $90,000 and $290,000. While second place is highly admirable, it was not eligible for a cash prize. Nevertheless, the Keep Little Elm Beautiful program put together a very strong case for winning.
In addition to the various clean up events, the group works to gather recycling information from local businesses such as Kroger, Lowes, Dollar Tree, as well as residential curbside recycling by CWD and Simple Recycling, and adds that information to its program nomination. Also included are the Adopt-A-Street and other litter prevention efforts by community groups. The group researches law enforcement records for cases of littering of streets and waterways and initiates efforts to clean up the reported sites. School-based beautification and education programs are included along with Economic Development Corporation grants destined for clean-up campaigns. Each year, the KLEB organization convinces churches, scouts, nonprofits and civic groups to assist in beautification efforts, thus bolstering their chances to place first in the competition and thereby win the accompanying grant. When deciding on the winning municipalities in each category, the judges look at seven areas of concentration including: Community Leadership and Coordination; Public Awareness; Education; Beautification and Community Improvement; Litter Prevention and Cleanup; Solid Waste Management; and Litter Law and Illegal Dumping Enforcement. The organization remains undaunted and has already begun gathering data for next year’s submission.