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Open space behind Safeway gets cleaned up

The retention pond and fields near the Safeway shopping center in Falcon are getting a spring cleaning. Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District Manager Larry Bishop said the pond area and the walking path that runs behind the strip mall housing the Sweet Tooth and Town and Country Preschool is district property. Since joining the district in January 2008, Bishop said he has initiated regular cleanup projects for all parks and open space.Bishop said the trash in the area is more than wind blowing over trash cans and spreading debris through the neighborhood. “People are dumping trash. We find all kinds of things in there,” he said. His staff once recovered a couch out of the pond.The illegal dumping creates problems for the district. “The ponds have to be able to retain water and water has to get out – or somebody’s property is going to flood,” he said.WHMD employees John Lloyd and Nate Spence are part of the crew tasked to keep the area clean. Lloyd said in one hour of work they collected four trash bags full of debris. It was the second time in a week he had been out to the site.Bishop said the district doesn’t impose fines for dumping. “The problem with a policy like that is how do you enforce it,” he said.Director of Town and Country Preschool Tanya Luiten said she appreciates efforts to maintain the path. Her teachers occasionally take the students on the walking path behind the building for nature walks. During the winter, the trash buildup had gotten to the point the children were noticing.Luiten said she turns the experience into a learning opportunity to teach the children about littering, but she said she hoped the community would take ownership of the issue. “That whole area is a great place for the kids to explore. They go bird watching and bug hunting. We have watched ant hills and seen bird nests,” Luiten said. “It’s a relief to know that it is being maintained consistently now.”Bishop said dumping in parks and open space is a common problem for many municipalities. “Some people will even use garbage cans in parks instead of paying for their own collection,” he said. In the long run, Bishop said it costs residents more money, since the district would eventually have to raise fees to cover the costs of increased pickups.”Your friends and neighbors end up paying for your trash,” he added.

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