BLACK EAGLE – The communities of Black Eagle and Great Falls came together Saturday morning to mark the start of springtime and make Cascade County a cleaner place to live.
“Black Eagle’s view is up to you!” shouted volunteers during the second and final weekend of the annual “MApril Cleanup,” an event in which hundreds of area residents take part each year. From the airmen of Malmstrom Air Force Base to Cascade County commissioners, the MApril Cleanup has drawn upon the efforts of a diverse group of local individuals for 35 years (and counting).
14.38 tons of garbage were collected on Saturday, making for a combined 38.72 ton total over the two-weekend period. That figure blew expectations — of only 15 to 20 tons — out of the park.
Crews gathered at 8 a.m. Saturday in downtown Great Falls to get their assignments; they stayed hard at work until noon, gathering debris from alleyways.
Hundreds of people fanned out across the community with a wide purview, including River Drive to 25th Street and 8th Avenue North to 10th Avenue South. Residents within those parameters were advised during the week to collect trash from around their properties and leave it in the alleyways for collection.
The MApril Cleanup is sponsored by NeighborWorks, a local organization led by neighborhood council leaders with a purpose of “be[ing] a sustainable leader in community housing and neighborhood solutions.”
NeighborWorks has aided over 2,200 Great Falls families in the home ownership process since 1980. The group’s primary objectives have remained to “revitalize communities, reclaim abandoned and distressed properties, and promote affordable housing.”
“Great work from volunteers, neighborhood councils and Malmstrom!” wrote NeighborWorks in a social media post Saturday. Terry Miller, coordinator of the MApril Cleanup in Black Eagle and a vital part of her neighborhood council, said the event shows how small acts of kindness really can add up.
“We did five tons out of Black Eagle here,” Miller told MTN. “It’s two weekends, and then we come and pick up we need to.” She added that she hopes the tradition will continue for years to come.
“We make it a better place to live,” Miller said.