Anna unveils it BEST program

By Joshua Baethge
Anna-Melissa Tribune
Anna Public Works employees examine items found during its December “Trash Bash”

The city of Anna has kicked off its BEST program to help improve the look of the city.  Short for “Beautification Enhancement Strike Team,” BEST is a multiple department effort that aims to find new and creative to create a more visually appealing city.

“The idea is that we want the optics of our community to match the amazing work that’s being done,” Neighborhood Services Director Marc Marchand said. “When you have guests over at your home you pick up and we have guests coming into our community and want to be really proud of how it looks as well.”

The initiative kicked off last month with an all-day “trash bash.” The public works department split into teams in a competition to see who could find the most trash. According to CARDS, the city’s’ solids waste disposal partner, they found nearly 45 yards of trash. Among the items they collected were a tree, 10 tires, two car bumpers, a shopping cart in a creek, and an abandoned hot top on the side of a road. 

Marchand says that the overriding goal of the program is to enhance the appearance of Anna and promote good habits. For example, the city has examined where trash comes from when the wind picks up.  Solutions to this problem could be as simple as moving waste bins or ensuring they have the proper lids on them.  The city is also looking into how it collects trash, and the routes crews take to see if there are ways they could be done better.

One issue that has been identified is the need to be more consistent what the city’s identity. There are opportunities for better landscaping that can do things like utilize native plants, conserve water and provide habitat protection for native species. Finding ways to better protect waterways and green belts is also a priority.  Improved erosion controls and establishing best practices for things like weed spraying will also be addressed.

“It all becomes big pieces of a large puzzle to make sure that we are doing things in a consistent manner and that we have the aesthetic that people really enjoy,” Marchand says.

He says a lot of the initial work has already been completed.  Now it’s a manner of organizing it and communicating with the public about what the city is doing and why.

Going forward, he says there are plans to offer more environmental education opportunities and designate community cleanup days.  City officials are also looking into the possibility of having an Arbor Day celebration as part of the Tree City USA campaign and creating a Keep Anna Beautiful affiliate program.