This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.

The city of Kenai is sponsoring three lunchtime events that city planner, Elizabeth Appleby, hopes will promote a cleaner, more engaged city.

The events, called TRASHersize, focus on cleaning city trails on a typical lunch break. The city provides all the bags, gloves and water needed for the event.

Appleby said she created the event for a number of reasons, including highlighting Kenai’s city trails, working with the community to create a cleaner place to live and creating an informal setting where residents can interact with city employees.

The Kenai Planning and Zoning Department receives complaints about litter. While Appleby said that most of the complaints she receives aren’t focused on trails, she said there is still a need to clean the city’s trails.

“The complaints I’ve gotten have not really been specific to trails, but given it’s only me and one other person in Planning and Zoning enforcing these complaints, I thought trying to interact with residents with informal ways to combat the trash issue would help give a boost to staff dollars and time in the city,” Appleby said.

Karolee Hansen joined the first TRASHersize event the city hosted on Thursday.

“I just want to do something to make Kenai more beautiful and cleaner,” Hansen said.

Carol Bannock works in the Kenai City Parks and Recreation Department. She helped Appleby plan the event and hopes the event promotes the city’s trail system.

“One of my things is that the more people we put on the trails, the safer our trails become,” Bannock said. “So if we can get people out exercising and picking up trash at the same time and utilizing one of our city park trails then I think it’s just a win for everybody.”

The group helped fill four trash bags with garbage along Ryan’s Creek Trail greenbelt on Thursday.

The city is planning two more TRASHersize events: Noon-1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, beginning at the Kenai Library and Thursday, Oct. 4, beginning at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Spruce Street.

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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