Keep Laredo Beautiful Wins Prestigious Award Against Major Texas Cities

Keep Laredo Beautiful was recognized at Monday’s City Council meeting for achieving second place in the 2022 Governor’s Community Excellence Award in Category 10, an award the city says is the most prestigious award that the organization can receive.

According to the Keep Texas Beautiful, Category 10 pits cities with populations over 180,001 against a landscape prize of $310,000. The GCAA program has recognized outstanding communities since 1969, with TxDOT providing landscaping funding since 1985. They state that “each year, we help the Texas Department of Transportation award $2 million for exceptional efforts to keep local Texas communities beautiful.”

Keep Laredo Beautiful general manager Ruby Miranda said the price was very competitive because Laredo would be competing with the state’s larger cities. She praised the contributions of the volunteer community and those who enforce waste laws, as well as the cooperation with the city to continue their programs.

“The mission is to empower the citizens of Laredo, through education, to take responsibility for improving their community and environment through waste prevention, beautification, community improvement and minimization of the impact of solid waste,” says Keep Laredo Beautiful.

The organization often posts events and their participation throughout the city, which includes the current Best Yard competition. The contest invites Laredo residents to register by August 12 to compete with other residents to find the best yard in each district. One winner will be chosen per district and the metrics will overlook freedom from litter/debris, mowed lawn/trimmed hedges, landscaping, yard cleanliness and order, and signs of xeriscaping.

Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that involves introducing and using native plant materials that will keep water usage low on properties, according to Yellow Stone Landscape. Whether competing or not, Keep Laredo Beautiful always encourages all citizens of Laredo to practice water conservation methods.

Beyond that, the organization will also be hosting a back-to-school cleanup on August 20 at North Central Park and another at Father McNaboe Park on August 27. A cleanup event in June was deemed a success, where 42 volunteers helped clean up the Azteca Neighborhood, one of Laredo’s oldest neighborhoods. Additionally, a video from the City of Laredo Environmental Services was posted on the organization’s Facebook page showing the amount of trash that can be found in storm drains that can contribute to flooding.

“It’s important because it’s a preventative measure to avoid any waste that could end up in the Rio Grande and end up harming marine life,” Miranda said. “Our primary mission and focus is to continue to beautify Laredo and care for our environment.”

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