National Day of Service draws volunteers for MLT parks cleanup

Saturday’s National Day of Service in Mountlake Terrace saw city councilmembers and residents pitching in to clean up the park and plaza.

About 20 people, ranging from toddlers to seniors, met at 9 a.m. at the Mountlake Terrace Civic Center, where they pulled weeds and picked up trash in Jerry Smith Plaza. At the same time, other volunteers removed trail-clogging branches throughout Veterans Memorial Park.

City Park Services and Property Management Superintendent Ken Courtmanch said the volunteers play a significant role in helping the parks department. The time saved by pre-clearing paths lets city crews focus on more challenging jobs.

During Earth Day this past April, Courtmanch said 126 people came out to clean up the plaza and park.

“There’s always support from the community,” Courtmanch said. “They are great people.”

Mountlake Terrace’s Day of Service started 22 years ago but was quite different than the one celebrated  today. Courtmanch said that originally, citizens would clean up around the city and put the trash on the curbs. The city would then pick it up.

“But people in other cities got wise and started bringing their trash here and leaving it on the curbs,” Courtmanch said. “So, we switched to dumpsters for people to put their trash in.”

You can probably guess what happened. The people from other cities started bringing their trash to the dumpsters. And like the curbs, the dumpsters would overfill and create a mess.

Eventually, the city changed to the current format. The date was also changed to the Saturday closest to Sept. 11 to honor those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City.

Learn more about Mountlake Terrace’s Day of Service by clicking here.

— Story and photos by Rick Sinnett

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