East Coronado Neighborhood Clean-up Report March 1, 2012

On Saturday, January 21st, 2012, Phoenix Police Department Community Action Officer Aimee Knight-Fogel and Coronado Fightback East held an alley clean up and graffiti removal project in conjunction with fellow police officers, the Maricopa County Probation Department, and students from three local JROTC programs--North, Central, and Camelback High Schools.  Councilman Nowakowski's office provided dumpsters for the trash and the Neighborhood Services Department supplied the paint and tool trailers for the project.  Fortified by donuts and hot chocolate courtesy of Coronado Fightback's Chair Christina Henrie, all hands pitched in to make a difference. The enthusiastic students arrived in the dark early morning hours and got quickly to work, amazing everyone with their energy, hard work, and ability to work together.  We wish to thank LTC James Gallagher from North High School, Major Gregory Kentel from Camelback High School, and 1sg Ronnie Hurt from Central High School
for their support of this project.  We commend them for the programs that produce these good citizens!  

We also wish to thank Phoenix Police Officers Jon McLachlan, Ben Harris, Aaron Stevens, Chris Morris and Sgt. Amy Breitzman for their willingness to support our neighborhood and for all the heavy lifting!  Thanks to Silvia Partida and Bill Peckham of the Maricopa County Probation Department for their personal efforts as well as those of their group. At the end of a few hours, two dumpsters were filled with debris from four alleys, those alleys and the right of way were weedeated, graffiti was removed from all four alleys and neighboring houses, and various residents were educated about the need to maintain the areas. Channel 3 and Channel 12 came out to interview participants and document the project, as well as a live remote shot on Channel 3 and Officer Knight-Fogel did an on-site radio interview.  The following is from some of the coverage Channel 3 provided--they ran the story all weekend.  We greatly appreciate everyone who supported this project. 

Christina  Henrie

by Tess Rafols

PHOENIX -- Picture an alley filled with trash and graffiti. It's unfortunately a common sight throughout the city of Phoenix. But what a difference a few hours of hard work can make. Just ask the folks who live in the area of 19th Street, north of McDowell Road.

"We're cleaning up the neighborhood this morning," explained Andrea Perez.

The teen was among 50 or so students from local high schools who came out to join dozens of neighborhood group volunteers and officers to pitch in the Phoenix Police Department's Community Neighborhood Cleanup.

Saturday's big clean was headed up by Officer Amy Knight.

"We see alot of illegal dumping," she explained. "Couches, Christmas trees, just everything. There's way more trash than I expected."

Good thing there was also a lot more volunteers than organizers had expected. For the people who live in this area, it's welcomed help to beautify their streets.

"This is huge for us," said Christina Henry, who helped form the Coronado East Fight Back neighborhood group. "People think we don't care about the community, but this shows the people who live here do care."

Henry said over the last six years since these types of cleanups began, they've seen a pride of ownership in the neighborhood.

Organizers believe a cleaner neighborhood tends to deter people from vandalizing it and dumping trash.

"If someone sprays graffiti, we paint over it. If they do it again, we paint over it again," explained Knight.

Within several hours, trash from one alley filled up one Dumpster. And left behind, is a cleaner neighborhood that everyone can be proud of.