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Altus Chamber of Commerce, Volunteers Start Beautification Project

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ALTUS, Okla_ Some Altus residents say the build-up of litter around town is slowly making parts of the city look like an eyesore.

Now, the Chamber of Commerce and local organizations are joining together to fix it. It's "The Clean-up Campaign for Altus". The event is the first of four they intend to have this year. The goal is to have groups pick up trash covering many of the city's fields, side streets and even the city reservoir.

Altus Chamber of Commerce President Holley Urbanski said right now, the city is under financial strains and can't hire the staff needed to keep the town as clean as they'd like. She said for about a year, local business leaders and others who care about the community have been talking about doing a "clean-up campaign."

Local business owner Mike Weber is joining the effort, helping to get rid of things like this kennel and other trash in fields near Tamarack and Falcon.

"Almost everybody drives down this road, and that's not a pretty thing to look at," Weber said. "It's hard not to notice the landscape in Altus slowly being covered by brightly-colored trash."

Urbanski said with the help of groups like the Altus Air Force Base, Western Oklahoma State College, and area churches, they can give the city a makeover.

Groups plan to target a field near Tamarack road and Main Street.

"Trash is blown. People go shopping," Urbanski said. "Sometimes, they're not as responsible as they should be about picking up their own trash, and it blows down the street."

Urbanski said another huge goal of the cleanup campaign is to keep trash out of local ponds, the irrigation canal and the reservoir. Not only do wildlife rely on the water source, but people do, too. No one wants to drink polluted water.

Weber is hoping the cleanup will instill a sense of pride in the community, a place he said people should be proud to call home.

"You want to feel good about where you live," Weber said. "You want to feel good about multiple reasons, not just what it looks like, but how your community reacts to things like this."

"If we live in a clean community, it shows visitors that people in this community care about it," Urbanski said. "Then, they want to move here, too. They want to bring more jobs and economic development to our area."

Urbanski said the Chamber of Commerce will provide the trash bags.

The first "clean-up" event will focus on the main strips in Altus, like Main Street, Tamarack Road, Broadway, Falcon Road and Veterans Drive. They'll branch out to other parts of the city the other "clean-up" days.

The first cleanup is Saturday, February 23rd. Volunteers will meet at the Chamber of Commerce at 8:00 AM, and the cleanup is expected to last until noon.

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