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Resident plans event to beautify Bonney Lake

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By Teresa Herriman

The Courier-Herald

Andrew Lear is organizing what he hopes is the first of an annual Beautify Bonney Lake event.

The three-hour clean up and beautification project will run from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 28. All participants will receive a "Beautify Bonney Lake" T-shirt, donated by the Sports Connection, that will feature a logo commissioned for the occasion. A free pizza party sponsored by Godfathers Pizza will conclude event.

Rather than take on the whole city, volunteers will focus on two main areas: Ascent Park on Elhi Hill and the corner of state Route 410 East and 184th Ave. near the former Bank of America building. If enough volunteers participate, the group will also tackle walking trails at Allan Yorke Park and the Washington State University 4-H Demonstration Forest.

"We want to keep it manageable and use it as momentum to go into next year," Lear said.

The idea for the project, he said, came from a friend in Ann Arbor, Mich., who organized the same type of event nine years ago. Starting with 1,100 volunteers, the annual Michigan event now attracts more than 3,500 civic-minded citizens.

Using Ann Arbor as a blueprint, Lear began contacting city officials, civic organizations and local businesses. To generate interest in the idea, he attended City Council meetings and spoke to the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce and the local Kiwanis Club. The response, he said, has been enthusiastic.

Lear - who describes himself, as "just a citizen" - is a project director for Investment Evaluation at Weyerhaeuser. He and his family moved to Bonney Lake in 2001.

He is also persuasive.

Volunteers from local Girl and Boy Scout troops, civic organizations, religious groups and others have already committed to the project. Lear hopes at least 100 people participate in what could become an annual event.

Lear and his organization team will meet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays throughout August at the Church of Latter-day Saints in Bonney Lake to nail down the details. City officials will be on hand to assist in the planning. Volunteers are encouraged to attend.

Thursday, Gary Leaf, assistant public works director for the city, helped answer questions regarding the sites to be addressed this year.

Target Corp. has pledged $2,500 and 15 to 20 volunteers. Organizers continue to seek local sponsorships. Businesses or organizations can select from four sponsorship levels, ranging from $100 to $2,500 and more.

Lear recognizes that late summer is a difficult time to get volunteers for the project, but is pragmatic. If the project becomes an annual event, he hopes it can be moved to the spring when his group can coordinate with local schools, avoid vacation conflicts and maximize planting opportunities.

The chamber has established a dedicated account for donations. Because it is a nonprofit organization, contributions made through the chamber may qualify as a tax-deductible donation.

Funds collected will be used primarily to purchase materials and supplies, such as beauty bark and trees. Some money will go to promoting the event.

Those interested can contact the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce at 253-840-9683 or visit the Web site at www.bonneylake.com for further details and pledge sheets.

Teresa Herriman can be reached at therriman@courierherald.com.

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