Families, groups of community members and individuals turned out last Saturday to participate in Leadville’s annual Community Cleanup Day.
In order to safely host the event amid the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers implemented several changes to the event’s structure.
This year, participants were asked to sign up ahead of time and arrive at staggered points throughout the morning, Emily Olsen, executive director of Cloud City Conservation Center, said.
Beginning at 9 a.m., volunteers showed up at Zaitz Park to check in with organizers and collect trash bags, masks and gloves and learn where in town they could focus their efforts.
The Swaner family wound up patrolling the west side of town.
Erin, Tim, Lincoln and Raleigh rolled slowly on their bikes, trash bag in tow, keeping a lookout for litter between Spruce and Leiter Streets.
The family has participated in years past, and now that the two children are old enough to handle themselves more independently, it serves as an enjoyable way to get outside as a family while benefiting the community, Erin Swaner said.
“It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt,” Tim Swaner said while pointing out debris for their two children to pick up along the roadside.
The event saw 33 groups of varying size sign up to help collect litter around town, and each volunteer slot filled quickly once the opportunity was posted online, Olsen said.
In hosting the event, the Cloud City Conservation Center, Lake County Community Fund and Leadville Main Street Program hope to engage the community and provide opportunities to help on a local level, Chad Most, director of the Leadville Main Street, said.
In past years, volunteers have been asked to leave collected bags of trash along public right-of-ways for the city to collect, but this year participants brought gathered refuse back to a dumpster at the courthouse to minimize contact workers would otherwise have with the bags.
This year’s cleanup did not have the barbecue that typically follows in order to reduce crowding, Olsen said.
By the end of the event, a total of 71 volunteers had gathered 1.25 tons of trash from neighborhoods around town.