Casita Park clean up with an Italian flair

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Courier photos by John Waters Nick Nevares of Crestone spearheaded a community lunch during the third annual Casita Park Clean Up on May 4. He and a team of 14 volunteers prepared a feast of Italian dishes after the clean up to about 70. Saguache County provided several dumpsters as part of the third annual Casita Park Clean Up on May 4. The dumpsters were filled with an assortment of trash.

SAGUACHE COUNTY— About 80 people turned out for the third annual Casita Park Clean Up on May 4. The event was hosted by the Friends of Casita Park, Baca Grande Property Owners Association, and grants from Saguache County. Italian food prepared by Nick Navares and 14 helpers was available for volunteers and community members.

The clean up was a huge success and filled several large dumpsters with appliances and a variety of debris. After hauling trash everyone was treated to an assortment of Italian dishes including several types of lasagna, pasta, tomato sauce, meatballs, and desserts.

The community lunch is the brainstorm of realtor Nevarez from Mountainside Realty in Crestone, “I do about three of these community lunches that are supported by Saguache County sales tax grants subsidies. The idea is to bring the community together and eat. This lunch is in conjunction with the annual Casita Park clean up. The county pays for the dumpsters and people from Casita Park and Baca Grande brought their trash, appliances, and other items. We're even accepting title to old cars and we will tow the cars away. The clean up is fantastic. This town park is amazing with a new pavilion, bathrooms, and running water.

“I also sponsor an adopt a highway for about two miles of T Road near Casita Park,” said Navares.

Michael Scully with the Friends of Casita Park said, “We have come together several years ago and we came upon this clean up project to pick up and dispose trash. Our first clean up was on Earth Day and we had local people volunteering and carting off trash to the dump. The property owners association got involved and we now have these dumpsters.”

Saguache County Commissioner Tom McCracken said the county has been proactive in assisting with clean ups, providing dumpsters, and waiving fees at the county dump on certain days. “We passed that nuisance ordinance a while back that requires land owners to clean up their place and rather than use the big stick approach we are trying to incentivize people to clean up their places by making it real easy for them.”

Adam Kinney, a Crestone resident who is running against McCracken in the June primary for county commissioner said this, “I love seeing people come together like this to support their neighbors and take pride in their communities, especially around managing waste and cleanup. So many volunteers gave their time to make this happen. And a special thanks to the musicians and Nick Nevares for the free meals, turning trash hauling into a community celebration.”