AVON — You know your community cleanup effort was a success when the kids actually describe it as “fun.”
More than 100 residents and volunteers from the Eagle Bend Apartments gathered Friday to clean up their apartment complex, which sits between U.S. Highway 6 and Eagle Bend Drive, abutting the Eagle River for about a quarter of a mile.
“It’s so nice to have a river here. We want to keep it free of trash and keep our community nice and clean,” said Eagle Bend community resident Martin Reza.
Reza was joined by a team of five girls, including his daughters, Kimberly, 12, and Yarelli, 9.
“We got bags and gloves, started at one end of the village and worked our way down,” he said. “All the girls picked up a lot of trash, and at the end they had prizes for the kids.”
The prizes came courtesy of The Youth Foundation, the educational arm of The Vail Valley Foundation, which was also there pitching in.
“It was really fun,” Kimberly Reza said.
The cleanup day was part of a continuing effort to improve the Eagle Bend Apartments, which are owned by the nonprofit Eagle Bend Dowd Affordable Housing Corporation and managed by Polar Star Properties.
“People think of this place like we’re subsidized housing; we’re not,” said facility director Larry Utzig. “This is all full market, and we’re bringing it up to the standards of what people are paying for.”
In addition to the cleanup, Utzig said Eagle Bend has begun “curb appeal” landscaping projects for beautification of their entryways, put in another playground and more fencing, and planted 40 trees in recent months.
“We’re starting capital improvement projects ... replacing counter tops, putting new fans in, upgrading carpet,” Utzig said.
But it’s not easy.
“I’ve got 430 units that I’m responsible for, 30-some buildings, and I have a staff of nine,” Utzig said as he strolled along the Eagle River. “If you had been here three days ago, we couldn’t walk here. ... It’s good for the kids — they play out over here and now they know they have to pick it up.”