By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The Keep SPI Beautiful (KSPIB) Committee met Thursday, March 12 to discuss upcoming celebrations and projects including Earth Hour, Arbor Day, recycling efforts, beach cleanups, and more. With so many events coming up, Chair Susan Dalton discussed the responsibility of members to take initiative on individual projects. KSPIB is looking for a member with an interest in serving the community in a leadership role and will be accepting applications to fill a position left vacant by Vice Chair Jason Norwood.
Coming up next for KSPIB is the worldwide event known as Earth Hour, which will take place on March 28 at 8:30 p.m. According to Environmental Health Director Victor Baldovinos, “Earth Hour is basically to raise awareness of green initiatives and sustainability.” He informed the committee that the City would promote the event and participate by turning off the lights at City Hall during the designated time. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to participate by turning off lights and electronics for the hour, and members hope to take aerial photos during the event to highlight the concept of light pollution and how it affects the beauty of the Island. A beach cleanup hosted by the Respeta tu Playa will also be held on the 28th. Adopt-A-Beach will host a cleanup on April 18.
Following soon after on April 25, the committee will host a tree planting at the bird and butterfly garden in honor of Arbor Day. SpawGlass Construction, who is currently working on the Convention Centre Renovation Project, will be donating three trees for the event. Chair Susan Dalton pointed out that SpawGlass has committed to donating substantial trees and that they should be native species to increase their chance of survival. The Girl Scouts will also participate in the event. Two of the trees will be planted at the bird and butterfly garden, and Baldovinos recommended that the third be planted at the Esperanza Street pocket park.
KSPIB recently came together to work on and submit a grant application for the Governor’s Community Achievement Award (GCAA), and Baldovinos was disappointed to announce that South Padre Island would not be receiving the grant. He noted that the news was bittersweet, because the grant application scored very well, receiving third place overall and SPI will be presented with an Award of Excellence for their formidable effort.
Finally, Dalton proposed another possible project regarding reuseable bags on the Island. As plastic bags have been banned on the Island, the idea of collaborating with local businesses to supply the community with reuseable bags for groceries or beach trips could be a positive alternative. The bags would display the KSPIB logo as well as any sponsors names and could be used as a fundraiser for the committee which has been operating without a budget. Committee members are considering their options for style and cost of the bags and will provide further details at the next meeting.
The next meeting for KSPIB will take place on April 9. Susan Dalton will continue with her position as Chair with Elaine Sanchez stepping up as Vice Chair.
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