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Nonprofit gets state grant for beautification efforts; Keep Chaves County Beautiful receives more than $20K

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Local Keep Chaves County Beautiful volunteers create planters at the Chaves County Courthouse in downtown Roswell in November 2017 after receiving a grant from Lowe’s Cos. Inc. (Submitted Photo)

A newly formed nonprofit has received a state grant for its anti-littering and area beautification efforts.

Keep Chaves County Beautiful Inc., officially incorporated in October 2017 but an offshoot of the Keep Roswell Beautiful group started in 1987, has received $20,893 from the New Mexico Clean and Beautiful program. That program is an affiliate of the national Keep America Beautiful organization and part of the New Mexico Tourism Department.

Kathleen Sharp, coordinator of the state Clean and Beautiful effort, said 40 entities received the grants during this funding cycle, with a wide range in the dollar amounts requested and given.

The local organization’s director, Sean Davis, also the head of the Chaves County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), said that the group plans to use the money for youth educational programs, planting and other beautification efforts, and litter clean-up projects, primarily on county sites.

“We are focusing on the county’s properties rather than the city, although if we do see some community property that needs plants or flowers, we will see what we can do,” he said.

Davis said that group intends to make an official announcement about its plans within the next few months. He also indicated that the organization hopes to obtain additional grants soon.

Paying sponsored youth groups, such as high-school athletic teams, to clean up at community events has been allocated $1,455 of the grant. But the major portions of the money involve educational programs, with an emphasis on recycling ($4,415); litter control ($4,818); and beautification projects ($5,636).

“Since 1986, Keep Roswell Beautiful has always focused on Roswell,” said Davis. “Keep Chaves County Beautiful, we are thinking bigger and better, so in our inaugural year we are going down south to the (Pecos) Valley.”

He said the educational projects will focus primarily on schools in Hagerman and Dexter, with some work with other schools or youth clubs anticipated. The beautification projects are expected to involve planting shrubs, flowers or trees or improving signage in parks around Midway or other Valley communities.

He added that the organization also has funds for litter reduction efforts, which will include organizing its own event clean-up projects or providing gloves, trash bags or other items to community groups wanting to coordinate a local event clean-up or site clean-up effort.

More information about the group is available on its Facebook page, facebook.com/keepchavescountybeautiful/.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.