Folks Unite for Bagnell Dam Strip Beautification (Thank you to Lake Sun for Photo Above)

by Loretta Srch

Spruce Up the Boulevard, a new BDSA event on April 29th was declared a success. Originally the idea of a cleanup day was presented to the Bagnell Dam Strip Association. From it an interesting community collaboration developed. The event shaped organically. No one stepped up to the chairperson role, but many on the BDSA saw what this event looked like. It resembled the allegory of the blind folks touching an elephant and describing it by their limited perspectives.

From those perspectives BDSA members adopted aspects of the project to which they were naturally inclined. The range of their interests covered all the logistics: from figuring out tasks; rounding up people; promoting the event; gathering and staging supplies and tools; to feeding the volunteers who gave their Saturday morning to Lake Ozark.

A range of interests was also reflected in the forty or so volunteer workers; businesses, students, organizations, retired folks, city personnel, citizens, their alderwomen, families with young kids and one dog.

Opening remarks addressed the coming together for such a project and the ties that bind from community connections; the importance of our local water quality and how Lake Ozark Watershed Alliance is working to serve not only the Lake but also property owners in their endeavors for a healthy environment; a renewed connection between School of the Osage students and the BDSA; and finally a breakdown of the 33 identified target areas needing a spruce up with the advice to pick a team and go to it.

Crews formed and dispersed for trash pickup. Others pulled weeds enough to fill fifteen yard-waste bags. High school students systemized their own methods and logistics for sticker removal from light posts. The city lent equipment and cleaning products, provided mulch that was spread by a team represented by the fire department, a local landscaper, a police officer, the city administrator. Pruning by the historic marker, power blowing, finishing touches and the Strip looks ship shape for the Car Show.

By the time of the Volunteer Appreciation Cookout, the Bagnell Dam Strip showcased a colorful freshness as an immediate reward for the efforts. And as they filled their hungry bellies with picnic fare, volunteers indicated a desire to keep the project moving. Bits of conversation revealed “If we can figure out how to keep this going … Get groups to adopt the peninsulas and lightposts … Plant pollinator gardens and more native plants …. Some kids want to paint a mural…We’ve got the okay…” The buzz in the air was not just spring insects. People were swept up in the spirit of the mission, looking at the Strip closer, enjoying a new perspective.

Happy Spring!