MIDLOTHIAN

Trash wrestles between wire fences and tall grass along McAlpin Road. As garbage continued to accumulate near James Auto Body Shop, the small business owner decided it was time to take the waste in his own hands and adopt the street.

Trash is inevitable, but with the Adopt-A-Street program and diligent citizens, the issue can be helped. The nonprofit, Keep Midlothian Beautiful, started a social media campaign to drive more residents to do their part. As of Tuesday, March 27, eight streets across Midlothian had been adopted.

Two out of the eight streets were adopted by James Auto Body on McAlpin Road and the Cheshier family on Tower Road.

Jeff Bolton, owner of James Auto Body, could not remember how long the trash has continued to accumulate in front of his business, practically taking ownership of the waste. Though he is willing to friendly wager the better part of 10 years — at least.

The road also runs along his body shop located directly next to his home.

“For me, it’s about being a long time community member. It’s a reflection of how I want my city to look like — it’s a reflection of myself,” Bolton explained.

His shop has been in business for 35 years, and he decided to adopt the road because the trash was becoming an issue.

“We like to keep the place looking nice,” Bolton elaborated. “When we first started, there was nothing out here. But when they started building subdivisions, the trash started building in my yard, trash across the street.”

Over the years, he’s noticed a trend in the trash that is caught in bordering fences and thick grass. He blames the contractors passing through and the teenagers drinking alcohol.

“I bet we pick up a pickup load of beer bottles and whiskey bottles,” he added. “We don’t see a lot of mattresses, blankets or people just being trashy. It’s the stuff that accidentally blows out of trucks and the kids that are throwing out stuff before they get home so they won’t get in trouble.”

In the beginning, him, his family and staff would pick up the street, but over time, it grew too big of a job. Now, he pays a team of workers about six to eight times a year to clear the street, which unfortunately is an expense on his part.

“At first we could get away with picking up twice a year because there wasn’t as much traffic. I believe we could pick up every day now and we would have several bags full, every day,” Bolton said.

Just around the corner from Jeff is the road the Cheshier family adopted. Kasey Cheshier drives on Tower Road several times a day, picking up his kids, riding into his neighborhood. He started noticing the acuminated waste during his runs, and it really bothered him.

“Two years back, I was running through there, and there was garbage everywhere. It was almost like a dumping ground. I got out there one Saturday — in fact, it was several days and picked it up a couple of times in sections,” Kasey explained.

The first time his family suited up in their reflective vests they bagged a total of 20 trash bags of trash. “It was brutal,” he said.

He said mainly the trash consists of cups, to-go boxes and other recyclable plastics.

On occasion, Kasey will stop on the side of the road and pick up a significant piece of trash, but he usually gets out there at least once a month and after windy storms.

He encourages other families in the area to get involved and to make some fun out of it as his family does.

Adopting a street is free and any street inside city limits, besides TxDOT roads can be adopted. Hubbard also mentioned that Keep Midlothian Beautiful supply tools needed to maintain the street and they would pick up the accumulated trash bags from the cleanup. It is mandatory to pick up the road four times a year.

If interested, log onto Keep Midlothian Beautiful Facebook or website at keepmidlothianbeautiful.org.

Coming up on April 14, Keep Midlothian Beautiful is hosting a city-wide cleanup called “Spring Trash Bash,” which will be held from 8 a.m. — 12 p.m.

“We will be operating form Heritage Park on that day and time our event with the city-wide spring clean-up day happening at the Public Works location. Residents and all interested volunteers are encouraged to join us at the park for an assignment of a location to be cleaned and then join us for lunch afterward.”

Keep Midlothian Beautiful will provide all necessary supplies. Also, prizes will be awarded for various categories related to the cleanup effort. Details can be found on their Facebook page or their website at keepmidlothianbeautiful.org.

Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450