Aug 032011

By Teri Walker–

The old adage goes, “Before you start telling other people what to do, you ought to fix what’s in your own backyard.” Apparently, these are words of wisdom that Holbrook City Councilman Bobby Tyler takes to heart.

During the July 25 city council meeting, Tyler challenged the council and the community to a neighborhood clean up, and reported that he had started the ball rolling in his own neighborhood.

“I’d like to see things cleaned up in our community, but I also want to see neighbors taking ownership of their neighborhoods,” said Tyler as he watched two men unloading a trailer full of debris into a 40-foot dumpster parked across from his home in Holbrook.

“Through this effort, I’m hoping neighbors will take pride in how their homes and neighborhoods appear; that they’ll get to know one another and spend some time together.”

The neighborhood clean up challenge is underway now. Holbrook residents can determine when they want to have a clean up event, then contact city hall to request a dumpster be delivered to their neighborhood, free of charge. Tyler suggests providing the city with a two-week window when specifying a timeframe to ensure availability of a dumpster.

Excluding hazardous chemicals, most materials and items will be accepted in the dumpsters.

City Finance Director Randy Sullivan encourages participating neighborhoods not to put yard waste in the dumpsters. Rather, in support of Tyler’s clean up challenge, the city is willing to haul away yard debris including weeds, leaves and tree trimmings directly from residences, free of charge. Residents may contact the city to request yard waste pick up.

“We’re encouraging people to cut their weeds and clean up their yards, and we’re willing to haul away the green waste if they do it,” said Sullivan.

Tyler reminds citizens that Holbrook has a Yard of the Month program in which he suggests neighborhoods consider participating.

As far as other rewards for taking part in the challenge, he said, “The prize is to see what you’ve accomplished as a team. It’s protecting your home and neighbors from fire, insects and rodents. It’s getting some exercise and getting to know one another.”

Recognizing there are elderly and infirm members of the community who cannot participate directly in the challenge, Tyler is working with Boy Scouts of America troops and inviting other youth and community organizations to help.

“I remember growing up in Holbrook; this was a small town, it was neighborly,” said Tyler. “Everybody used to know everybody and we used to help everybody. We should still be doing that.”

Tyler would like neighborhoods to initiate clean up events now, so ample work can be done by September.

“I’d love to have this done in time for the county fair,” said Tyler. “Let’s have the city ready to welcome guests to the fair.”

The Navajo County Fair will be held Sept. 14 through 18. On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will be hosting a free electronic waste recycling event in Holbrook, providing an additional opportunity for residents to dispose of appliances and other electronic devices.

“I’m excited to see this,” said John Rogers, who lives in Tyler’s neighborhood. “We’re all glad to see this area getting cleaned up. We’ve needed it for a long time.”

Residents interested in participating in the clean up challenge can contact the city at 524-6225. Those interested in assisting with service projects to clean up the yards of the elderly or infirm can contact Tyler at

Photo By Teri Walker

Randy R. (left) and Kenny McKee participate in the neighborhood clean up challenge in Holbrook.