The City of Victoria has partnered with the Southside Community Coalition, a community group working to revitalize Victoria’s south side, for a volunteer-led day of cleanup and community development, a practice the City plans to replicate in other neighborhoods.
“As areas in the city mature, neighborhoods require concentrated revitalization efforts in order to maintain and improve quality of life,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Etienne. “We are committed to empowering residents to maintain the vitality of our community by focusing on aesthetic improvements and making our neighborhoods clean and safe places to live, work and raise a family.”
The cleanup will take place 8 a.m.-noon Nov. 14 in the southside neighborhood bounded by East Street and Port Lavaca Drive. Volunteers including City of Victoria staff and members of the Southside Community Coalition will meet at the empty lot across from Mumphord’s Place Bar-B-Q, then split up to clean areas the Southside Community Coalition has identified as needing waste removal, brush trimming and other City services.
“This partnership with the City is so valuable because they’re able to bring resources to the table that would be difficult for us to access on our own,” said Bethany Castro, Southside Community Coalition organizer. “We hope that this event will educate residents about services that are available to us all so we can better take care of ourselves and our community.”
The City of Victoria Solid Waste will visit the neighborhood after the event to pick up trash and bulky waste left on the curbs. Public Works also will assist with trimming trees and filling potholes during and after the event. Parks & Recreation will clean and beautify Hopkins Park and surrounding public areas.
Representatives with the City of Victoria Fire Marshal’s Office will canvass the neighborhood during the cleanup to install smoke alarms in residents’ homes, a grant-funded service that is available at no cost to residents. Victoria Public Library employees will help residents sign up for free library cards, and the Victoria Police Department will provide free bulbs for porch lights and inform residents about police department programs and services.
The Victoria Fire Department will host a free flu shot clinic for homeless and low-income residents at the empty lot across from Mumphord’s. The clinic is funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus program. Under program conditions established by the federal government, the no-cost vaccinations may only be given to residents who meet homeless or low-income qualifications and who do not have other resources for medical care.
To qualify, residents must provide two months’ worth of pay stubs and bank statements or, if unemployed, may provide proof of unemployment or self-certify that they have no income. The City will work with its nonprofit partners to determine whether homeless residents meet the criteria.
Victoria County Public Health Department employees will provide informative handouts about animal control. They also will canvass the neighborhood prior to the event to pick up stray dogs that do not appear to have owners and could pose a danger to residents.
Volunteers may register at volunteersignup.org/TFAYH. Walk-up registration also is available the day of the event. Volunteers must wear facial coverings.
For more information about the cleanup or to recommend a household in need of service, contact Castro at 830-299-0184. For information about City services to be provided during the event, call the City Manager’s Office at 361-485-3030. For information about the flu shot clinic, contact the Victoria Fire Department at 361-485-3450.