And, with City staffing levels continually challenged, community volunteers are taking charge doing whatever it takes — cleaning, clearing brush, patrolling — to get the job done.
In July, OB resident and graphic designer Aaron Null planted a seed of community “self-help” in creating a Facebook page, imploring residents to adopt a block to clean each week.
That seed that’s been planted is sending out roots and baring fruits.
“This has gone from literally me and a couple of friends to 70 volunteers now,” said Null, a 10-year OB resident.
Null talked about his muse.
“I’ve enjoyed walking around the community and seeing how each block is totally different,” he said. “In summer, trash gets piled up around here.”
Continued Null: “There’s a lot of community energy in OB generally. I thought, ‘How do I take that energy and, utilizing social media, make that energy positive and connect all the community spirit? How do we make that every day, and get people out there?’ ”
Motivating people to take the initiative to spruce up OB proved less difficult than Null had assumed.
“People have made it a game and voluntary clean-up crews have spread across the community,” noted Null, who keeps an updated map on OB Street Stewards Facebook page showing which blocks have been “claimed” for clean-up by volunteers.
“A lot of people claim the block they live on,” said Null noting blocks designated in green on the Facebook map are filling up fast.
The street stewards clean-up program is gradually spreading to nearby beach communities. “I think Pacific Beach has about 40 volunteers right now, including a lot of families,” said Null.
What’s been the biggest clean-up task thus far?
“Trash and cigarette butts are a huge thing,” answered Null, who pointed out becoming a clean-up volunteer is as easy as picking up a bucket and a trash grabber and getting out there and doing it.
“I’d like to see it happen all around San Diego,” concluded Null. “It gets you excited. It’s pretty cool.”