If any well-to-do benefactors around the Sherman area are particularly concerned with litter, recycling, or any other priorities in common with the newly reestablished Keep Sherman Beautiful Commission, now would be a great time to do some pre-spring cleaning of your checking account. One of the unfortunate truths of starting a new — or in this case, renewed — non-profit is, well, a lack of profit. So as the KSB Commission works to reestablish itself after a six-year hiatus as a force for a cleaner city, much of its early focus is green — not the green movement so much as the color of money.
A majority of the commission’s January meeting was devoted to fundraising ideas: everything from letter openers emblazoned with the group’s as-of-yet-undetermined logo, to primary-colored trash bags sold at above-market prices to raise operating funds.
“I like the idea of the fundraiser being a ‘keep Sherman beautiful project,’” said Director of Community Support Services Don Keene. “If we provide people trash bags to put trash in instead of throwing it out the window and into the ditch, it’s kind of two things in one.”
“That’s the thing, how much do we want to order?” asked Commission Vice Chair Michael Deen. Fellow committee member Jennifer Thompson finished his sentence, summing-up the group’s initial problem. “And how do we pay for it?”
The Commission isn’t entirely destitute: the city of Sherman has agreed to provide $1,000 to help the group get off the ground. And judging by the make-up of the group’s half-dozen appointees — a who’s-who with deep ties to Austin College, local industry, and civic leaders — the group won’t lack for human capital.
To wit, when the focus of Wednesday’s meeting turned to city-wide events the group could sponsor, ideas came quickly. The resurrection of a Christmas-trees-into-mulch recycling event, an Earth Day tree sale and a neighborhood-based cleaning initiative were all bandied with varying degrees of enthusiasm. A concept in which the Commission would partner with local retail businesses to sponsor commercial lot clean-ups seemed to gain the most traction as the group’s signature initiative.
“If we were to go and say (to business owners) ‘We’ve restarted Keep Sherman Beautiful, and we are shoppers and consumers out here, would your employees be willing to (pick up trash) once a month or every two weeks,’ just to get them to go and clean-up the area,” said Deen. “Maybe part of it is paying attention to who’s participating; putting on our Facebook page the ‘Retail Space of the Month,’ and talk a little bit about what they did.”
“It’s getting the community to take ownership,” said Keene. “Those kind of things, it’s not something that we have to continually go out and do — because we can’t — but when we can get different parts of the city to take ownership, then all of a sudden, everybody’s taking care of their part and nobody has to do too much.”
The group’s next meeting will be held at noon on Feb. 12 at City Hall. By that point, the Jan. 31 submission deadline for the Commission’s logo contest for school-aged children will have passed. Committee leader Lauren Roth and the other commissioners will have an opportunity to pick the group’s new logo before the Commission holds its public launch event on April 5. The winner of the contest will receive a $200 gift card.