City taps the power of volunteers in cleanup projects
Escondido, Calif. When it comes to improvement projects, many cities and counties are finding a way around limited budgets, time constraints and expensive labor. Here, volunteers are tackling improvement and beautification projects that the city has been forced to put on the back burner because of a lack of time, labor and funds.
Repainting the city’s 5,000 fire hydrants was at the top of the to-do list for Escondido Water Supervisor John Throop. “This project was long overdue,” he says. “The hydrants were so faded that they could not be seen from the street.”
City officials conducted a short training session for the volunteers, detailing how to clean and repaint the hydrants. Then, the city provided more than 30 teenagers from a community-based Latter Day Saints Church with cheap paint brushes, yellow paint, safety vests, rubber gloves, safety glasses, spray bottles and paper towels.
Each paint job normally would cost the Escondido approximately $10.00. Consequently, 30 volunteers repainting 30 hydrants saved the city $300 in labor, Throop says.
Fire hydrants, however, did not provide the city’s only volunteer project. Early one Saturday morning, nine high school students showed up to take on a project involving a drab, gray-blue colored, restored railroad car at the Civic Center Complex. Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Mike Adams says the city would have had to pay an entry level employee $350 to spend the day washing the car.