Ron Welde is a clean freak and grime fighter, and Brooklyn Park is glad to have him.
"I would pick up because I like to ride my bike and I don't like to look at trash," Welde said. "I used to do the bike corridor between the Coon Rapids Dam and Highway 169. I did that for three or four years."
But despite Ron's efforts, there was still litter.
"Then I picked up a little bit more area where I normally drive," he said.
This job ended up too big for just one garbage guru.
"Finally it got to the point were I said I can do it all by myself," Welde said.
That's why Welde started a project called "Pick Up Your Neighborhood." He recruited an army of garbage gladiators and the effort has grown. Now in its second year, Pick Up Your Neighborhood has grown to 75 volunteers. A local business, Mills Fleet Farm, provides the orange bags.
And these orange-clad waste warriors are now drawing attention. Pick Up Your Neighborhood was recognized a few months ago by the city of Brooklyn Park with a citizenship award.
It's an adventure of sorts for these volunteers, they never know what they'll find. Volunteer Jeanne Kiel says she found some car parts. Jack Zimmer found cushions from a couch, shock absorbers and broken bumpers.
But mostly it's an effort to make Brooklyn Park a cleaner place to live.
"When in doubt, we just pick it all up," said Zimmer.
Welde says he's picked up more than a thousand gallons of litter this year alone. The project will have one more pickup day before they break for the winter. As you might imagine that day is scheduled for right after Halloween.
Neil Pursley, reporting
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