COPPERAS COVE — Sandra Kay Williams opened her front door Saturday morning to what she said was a beautiful site to behold.
“I just may have a block party out here after church,” Williams said. “I had considered moving because of this mess. Now, I don’t have to move.”
About 30 volunteers — including neighbors, city officials, civic clubs, Fort Hood soldiers and other residents — turned out in full force to remove the mounds of trash, furniture, wood, concrete and garbage from 313 Sunset Lane, which sits right outside of Williams’ apartment.
Wearing gloves with rakes in hand and sleeves rolled up, volunteers deposited more than 300,000 pounds of waste into roll-away bins provided by the city, which also provided backhoes to do the heavy lifting of concrete boulders, mattresses, couches and other large items.
Williams was out with the group, determined to take her neighborhood back.
“I want the area cleaned up. I live here. I want to stop the drugs, the trash and the crime,” Williams said. “There is no reason to live like this — like heathens.”
The push to clean up the area began when Cove House purchased a 6,090- square-foot transitional housing unit that opened at the end of October.
Richard Kirkwood moved to neighboring Casa Drive four months ago and came out to help with the cleanup after finding a notice on his door about the effort to improve the area.
“I came out to help because where we live needs all the help it can get,” Kirkwood said. “I just live right over on the next block. So, this is my neighborhood.”
“This is everyone’s community, and we have to have affordable housing for everyone,” said Councilman Mark Peterson, who was at the site helping with the cleanup along with several fellow councilmen and City Manager Andrea Gardner.
“People should not be required to live in a less pleasant part of town based on their income. Everyone deserves a safe, clean place to live,” Peterson said.
A city spokesman said costs will be calculated for Saturday’s cleanup and the city may file liens against the property owners as necessary. The cleanup effort was part of the citywide fall cleanup day.