About 40 community members picked up 404 pounds of trash off the streets in Lemon Grove within two hours on May 22. Volunteers young and old gathered at the Lemon Grove Main Street Promenade, gathering gloves, trash pickers, and plastic bags, heading out in all directions from the trolley station to downtown Broadway to help clean up Lemon Grove’s streets. Dubbed “Halloween in May” several volunteers showed up in costume.
Since 2018, Lemon Grove Lions Club Secretary Liana LeBaron and recently elected Lemon Grove council member, has spearheaded this monthly cleanup.
“When the Lions asked me if I had any ideas for my service project, I immediately said yes, cleaning up the streets of Lemon Grove,” she said. “They approved the project and we have been meeting every month to clean up the streets. This is something that is always needed, and we want to give a good impression, especially within our downtown area.”
LeBaron said she has been working with downtown business owners in getting the downtown area revitalized and walkable.
“The cleanup is part of that work that I have been doing and I have looped in a couple of business owners, that happen to be females,” she said. “One just opened a clothing store, Backyard Bonfire, in our downtown Broadway area, and she brings these ideas on how she would like to revamp the area and get the community businesses together to improve that area. And there is Shacole Hamlett who is trying to open The Hamlett coffee shop. She has a neat perspective and a positive energy, and I have been trying to wrangle those energies together. They donated items to try and get volunteers to come out. I think this is a good partnership with our businesses and our community members.”
Volunteering by her side, helping volunteers, and weighing trash, Erik Hauenstein, an environmental engineer said he moved to Lemon Grove two years ago and within six months was volunteering for the trash pickup events.
“My first thought when I came here is that there is a creek over by Toyota, let me go check it out. I looked at it and there were tons of trash. In talking with Liana and Toyota we eventually got to go in and clean it up one day. It is part of Chollas Creek and it had been a year since there had been any kind of cleanup there. It all feeds to the main Chollas Creek further down south. I am happy coming out and seeing everyone else that comes out to make our community much better.”