Couple inspires others through community clean-ups
By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District
When you lead by good example, others will often follow.
That’s what happened when Marilyn and Blair Marsden, who have lived in the Stonecroft neighborhood of Castle Pines for 12 years, saw messages last summer on a neighborhood social media platform stating the skate park at Coyote Ridge Park had been trashed and vandalized. The Marsdens sprang into action, grabbing their graffiti remover and trash bags before heading to the park. One passerby saw them cleaning and offered to help, then two twentysomethings on vacation from Alabama decided to join in.
The second time the Marsdens went to Coyote Ridge Park, an employee from the Castle Pines North Metro District saw them and offered to haul away the bags filled with garbage. Metro district managers heard about the residents’ impromptu efforts, and on October 21, the district organized its first official community clean-up day.
The Castle Pines North Metro District provided volunteers with work gloves, trash bags, hot chocolate and small cakes. A team of about 25 volunteers turned out and picked up items like decomposing sports balls, discarded clothing, cigarette butts, cans, bottles, plastic wrappers, Styrofoam, shards of broken glass, heavy-gauge industrial wire and a mangled bike. Marilyn even climbed under a skate park ramp where food wrappers had been thrown.
In all, four truckloads of debris were removed from Coyote Ridge Park and the surrounding area in just over two hours that day. The metro district publicly extended a “warm and sincere thank you” to the couple for their efforts, saying the Marsdens “urged us to mobilize volunteers against the insidious invasion of trash and graffiti plaguing the community.” The Marsdens are hoping for additional beautification efforts on Saturdays so more people, including school kids, can help out.
As the they can attest, a little initiative goes a long way.
“We’re in a society where (we think) it’s always someone else’s responsibility, but I was raised to leave things better than how you found them,” Marilyn said.
It turns out this wasn’t the Marsdens first foray in community upkeep. Graffiti became rampant in their neighborhood when they lived in Arizona.
“I couldn’t stand it. It started taking over the whole city,” Marilyn said.
Soon, the city was providing them, church groups and local Boy Scouts with equipment, including 5-gallon buckets of paint and rollers. Assigning clean-up captains for different areas of Castle Pines could help organize and coordinate clean-ups, and inspire neighbors to pitch in, Marilyn said.
“Everyone wants to have things clean, but no one knows where to start,” she said.
The next community clean-up is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day). Residents should meet at the Coyote Ridge Park pavilions adjacent to the lower parking lot; all ages are welcome to participate (see page 5 of the E Guide insert for details).