Oh, the magic of Disney.
When Modesto held its Takin' it to the Streets spring cleanup day at the end of March, some 2,500 people turned out to paint over graffiti, paint curbs, clean up litter and debris along streets, and more.
The strong turnout was in great part due to the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" promotion, which gave free Disney theme park tickets to 1 million people who registered and performed a day of volunteer service.
The promotion has ended, but the city still anticipates a turnout of at least a few hundred civic-minded Modestans for its next Takin' it to the Streets day, June 5, which is National Trails Day.
"We're expecting between 200 and 300, maybe up to 400 people," said Julie Hannon, director of the Modesto Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department. "We'll be focusing on the Virginia Corridor (the 4.2-mile trailway that follows the old Tidewater Southern Railway line from Needham Street to Bangs Avenue), we have some groups going out with Partners in Paint to do the Hetch Hetchy (the 2.7-mile walking, running and bicycling path that runs from Sisk Road to Semallon Drive) and then if we have enough volunteers, we might even try to get to the Peggy Mensinger Trail along Dry Creek.
"There'll be some painting of graffiti, trash pickup, there's a lot of emerging weeds at this point, so a lot of those areas need to either be cut down or pulled up. We'll just really be making the trails look nice."
The city welcomes volunteers skilled and unskilled, equipped or empty-handed, and adult or child (as long as children are accompanied by adults). Volunteers are encouraged to bring work gloves, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, garbage bags and drinking water. "We don't have tools for everybody," Hannon said, "but we have a good supply of shovels and rakes, and we have gloves, so we try to equip people if they come without anything. We for sure have trash bags."
Landscaping skills such as excavating and planting are helpful, but all hands are welcome, Hannon said. And while advance registration is being taken, it's not mandatory. "We're doing volunteer check-in at the Centennial Junction of the Virginia Corridor, right at Roseburg Square (shopping center), so if anyone just wakes up that morning and wants to go clean a trail and help out the city, we'd be more than willing to check them in."
There's no Disney reward, but "we've put together a nice package thanks to Councilman (Dave) Lopez," Hannon said. "Everyone's going to get a free ticket to a Nuts game of their choice, two free games of bowling and free shoe rental at McHenry Bowl, a taco plate at Tasty Taco and a car wash from Prime Shine. And Hi-Tec is going to provide from 11 to 1 a little fair/expo at Roosevelt Park, which will have vendors, free popcorn, that kind of stuff. So check-in is between 8:30 and 9, cleanup will go to about 11 or 11:30, then the expo until 1."
For more information or to sign up, contact volunteer coordinator Heather Grigsby 577-5445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.