By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
January 15, 2015
The Keep SPI Beautiful Committee met last Thursday afternoon to appoint their new committee chair and vice chairperson for the year. Chairman Michael Quist of the Laguna Madre Boys and Girls Club reminded everyone that the committee almost disbanded, but with new members and ideas, they have been rejuvenated and are ready to get out into the community and get involved in 2015.
Quist thanked returning members for their service last year and welcomed new members to the committee. With the New Year came time for the nomination of a new chairperson and vice chair. Jason Norwood was elected as vice chair and Susan Dalton assumed the role of chairperson. Quist immediately handed over the reins to Dalton who finished out the meeting with her first order of business being the approval of the minutes from December’s meeting. The committee voted unanimously in favor of both candidates.
Committee member Elaine Sanchez addressed a previously discussed topic regarding collaboration with organizations for future events. The committee had expressed an interest in partnering with businesses or organizations in the area to put on events that will promote beautification on the island. They decided that each member will submit two recommendations for a business, organization, or nonprofit to attend a meeting to give information about their cause. One group will be scheduled for each monthly meeting and the committee is hoping for opportunities to collaborate for marketing and events. Sanchez encouraged members to bond with the community to find new members and grow the organization and its purpose. Respeta Tu Playa will be the first organization to share at the meeting in February.
Quist noted that his future goal would be to focus on marketing the mission of the committee. There has been some confusion that Keep SPI Beautiful is a part of the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee, however the two are separate entities with unique missions. The purpose of Keep SPI Beautiful is to educate and engage individuals and businesses to take responsibility for improving our community environment. They work to accomplish this by putting a focus on litter prevention, beautification, recycling, and habitat creation, restoration, and preservation. Parks, Recreation and Beautification differs in that they are a committee designed to make recommendations to the City Council regarding enhancing the beauty and overall appearance of the City of SPI but also to maintain a community park system. Both are important to different areas of the city.
Another topic of importance during the meeting was an update on the 2015 Governor’s Community Achievement Award. Each year, Keep Texas Beautiful, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), gives the award to ten Texas communities with the best grassroots environmental programs in the state. Their goal is to recognize communities who are working diligently to create and sustain comprehensive environmental and beautification programs. Two million dollars in funding is distributed among the ten winners to be used for landscaping projects throughout the communities. The Keep SPI Beautiful Committee has applied for the grant in the past, and although they have received high marks, SPI has never won the award. At the meeting, the committee scheduled to hold a workshop this month, to discuss ways to improve this year’s application. Applications are due in February.
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