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Participants praise ‘walking town hall meeting’

By Staff | Feb 6, 2011

Chris Chulakes-Leetz cleans the roadways along Palm Tree Boulevard Sunday afternoon as part of his walking town hall meeting with constituents.

The first of two walking town hall meetings, “Clean Conversations with Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz” was held Sunday afternoon.
The council member, who scheduled the sessions to meet and talk to citizens as he cleaned the roadways in his path, began his journey down Wildwood Parkway from County Club Boulevard, going west to Palm Tree Boulevard, and south on Palm Tree Boulevard to Cape Coral Parkway.
Chulakes-Leetz said he talked with a half a dozen people before 1 p.m. and was happy to see some clean lots besides residents’ houses.
Beer bottles and cans were the “No. 1 offender” as he walked down the roadway, he said, adding that it gives him pause to think how the city can reduce the amount of bottles and cans in the medians of the roads.
Chulakes-Leetz said he has been thinking about the walking town hall meetings since last summer, but wanted to hold off until the weather was a little bit nicer.
“It is a good time because the weather is very comfortable,” he said about the “spring cleaning” of the roadways.
The walking sessions give him an opportunity to talk to people who may not turn out to meetings or know who their council members are.
He wanted to make sure residents knew that he was not asking them to cross the road into the median; he was just asking that they keep their own property clean.
Although there were not many who came out between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday to take par, those who had bags in their hand thought it was great idea.
“I think it is excellent,” Lourdes Blazevic said. “I think more people should do it. It gets you out of the house.”
She said she learned of the walking town hall meeting in the newspaper and made sure to tape it to her refrigerator so she could be involved in keeping her corner lot clean. Blazevic said she has noticed that a lot of people drop a lot of things on her the site, so she wants to make sure she picks up around her neighborhood.
“It’s not very bad,” she explained Sunday afternoon. “It’s pretty clean.”
Blazevic said she was disappointed that it did not attract more people to come out and clean the roadways.
“I think people should have more enthusiasm for their city,” she said.
Another community member who heard about the meeting came out to support Chulakes-Leetz by cleaning around her property and the median of the road close to her home.
“We need to protect our area,” April Mangum said.
Before Christmas, she would always bring a bag with her to pick up trash along the road when she walked.
“I generally try to keep it up,” Mangum said about keeping the community clean.
Pascha Donaldson, a member of the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife followed Chulakes-Leetz along Palm Tree Boulevard with a trash bag in hand to help keep her community clean because she “supports cleaning up.”
She said it is important to keep the community clean because they are always finding plastic bags and litter around owl nests. When Donaldson goes for her bike rides she takes a plastic bag with her so she can pick up any discards that she may find to help protect the environment and wildlife of Cape Coral.
“It is important that we take pride in the community,” Donaldson said.
She thought the walking town hall meeting was a good idea.
“Once a month would be justified to get out in the community and clean,” Donaldson said.
On Feb. 20, Chulakes-Leetz will begin walking on Skyline Boulevard from Gleason Parkway, going south to Cape Coral Parkway from 1 to 4 p.m.