By David Sabados
“There were so many needles and other hazardous stuff,” explained Marcia Budde.
Budde was tired of her neighborhood around 44th Avenue and Inca Street being a dumping ground for trash, furniture, drug paraphernalia, human waste, and more, so she decided to do something about it. After learning about Denver Community Active Living Coalition (CALC) from an article in the paper, she applied for funding for a community cleanup and was awarded a grant to help.
Cleaning up the area was more than a one-woman job, so she started building a team. A homeless outreach officer from the Denver Police Department, sanitation workers from the city, and community members from across several neighborhoods all signed up. She talked with Front Range Disposal, who offered two large roll-off dumpsters nearly free as well.
Two of those community members Budde recruited are Mario Munoz and his son Estevan. The three of them sat down with The Denver North Star at Waldschänke Ciders + Coffee near the cleanup area to explain why they got involved.
“I’ve been all over New York, trash everywhere. I don’t want Denver to look like that,” said Mario Munoz, a former Golden Gloves Hall of Fame boxer who said he’s spent time in most major American cities.
“It was super important,” added Estavan. “I’ve walked these streets where it’s just a lot of trash. We live around here. We see it every day.”
Another community member Budde highlighted is Tim Schoenleber, who said his fellow unhoused Denverites can have a positive role to play.
“I live in a motorhome myself. I get disgusted too. I’d like to get rid of all the junk on the street.”
Schoenleber, whose motorhome has been parked in the area on private property, is trying to find more permanent housing through city services. In the meantime, he’s trying to be a positive force.
“I’ve been everywhere in my motorhome. I don’t leave my trash there.”
Budde wanted to make sure to thank everyone involved, including the crew from the city: Richard Trinidad, Anthony Garcia, Joseph Abeyta, and Steven Low. In turn, everyone else wanted to make sure she was credited for bringing a community together.
“Marcia is a fervent community advocate– truly one of the most determined helpers I’ve met in this work,” said Elizabeth Morales, a program administrator for the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). “We connected her with a DOTI operations crew to help with the physical labor of the cleanup and bring a full size trash truck for the day. Marcia spent two days on the cleanup with her community.”
Now, a neglected part of Inca Street on the eastern edge of Sunnyside is improved thanks to the efforts of many community members. Morales added that community members interested in microgrants can soon apply for the 2023 funding cycle.
Visit denvercalc.org/microgrants or email email@example.com for more information on how to apply this spring.
Do you know a community member or group doing good work in North Denver who deserves recognition? Email Eric@DenverNorthStar.com to let us know!