Real estate broker Eliza Solender and attorney Gary Scott have lived on Del Roy Drive since 2013, but their Sunday mornings are now devoted to neighborhood trash.
On morning walks, the couple noticed the area along North Eastern Avenue was overgrown. They assumed the City of Dallas was responsible for it. “The bushes were practically to the middle of the street,” Solender says. “You couldn’t walk along the curb because of the overgrown bushes, and there was significant trash — everything from old furniture to paint cans.”
The two were also troubled by the untrimmed trees and trash along Inwood Road on Inwood Parkway. When they approached City officials, they say they were told Oncor was responsible for the upkeep along Eastern and that it was difficult to send workers frequently enough to pick up trash along Inwood because of the vast amount of garbage.
“Gary and I said, ‘That’s it. I can’t stand it anymore,’” Solender says. They started spending Sunday mornings picking up trash on the quarter of a mile along Eastern. They also negotiated with Oncor and secured a letter of agreement from the company for the neighborhood, allowing neighbors to maintain the bushes and shrubs and detailing what they could plant that wouldn’t interfere with the power lines. Next, Solender and Scott turned to the Caladium Club to ask 130 neighbors to raise money to pay for the bi-monthly maintenance of the shrubbery along Eastern and the 27 live oaks and red oaks on Inwood Parkway.
Picking up trash along Eastern can be treacherous. There’s poison ivy among the bushes. Scott once received 40 red ant bites on his left arm and shoulder. Still, the two continue their ritual, filling trash bags, Solender donning a large straw hat and Scott manning a trash picker tool.
Neighbors stop to say good morning, thank them and give high-fives. “Other people are now picking up trash,” Solender says. “These kinds of things can be contagious.” Another neighbor arranged to paint over the graffiti on the Tollway wall.
Says Solender, “We’re trying to keep our neighborhood attractive and make it safer.”
If you are interested in giving to the cause, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or donate through Venmo @Caladium-Club.
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