The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Clovis, Cannon team up to clean up highway

 

May 18, 2013

CMI photo: Tony Bullocks Project organizer Stacey Martin operates a front loader Friday to tear down a home destroyed by fire on Highway 60-84 between Clovis and Cannon AFB. Martin was assisted by Stevens Construction in the building tear down. Martin said the voluntary project will clean up the highway right of ways and other properties along the highway, and reduce fire hazards in the area, and beautify and improve property values in the area.

The stretch of Highway 60/84 between the Clovis city limits and Cannon Air Force Base has been commonly referred to as an eyesore, a reference to the run-down properties that put uneasiness into the families newly assigned to the military installation.

CMI photo: Tony Bullocks

Project organizer Stacey Martin operates a front loader Friday to tear down a home destroyed by fire on Highway 60-84 between Clovis and Cannon AFB. Martin was assisted by Stevens Construction in the building tear down. Martin said the voluntary project will clean up the highway right of ways and other properties along the highway, and reduce fire hazards in the area, and beautify and improve property values in the area.

For the next few months, a new nickname can be given to the area — demolition zone.

It's part of a volunteer effort called Clear to Cannon, starting past Wheaton Street and ending at the Cannon AFB off-ramp four miles later.

The effort, lead Clovis organizer Stacey Martin said, stems from a conversation with wing command over breakfast about three months ago.

The group agreed that entryways were unsightly, and the suggestion was made that if Clovis citizens could put forth an ambitious cleanup effort, volunteers from the base were sure to follow.

The group is midway through the second week of a 10-week process to cut down old trees and shrubs, remove abandoned and broken-down vehicles and cleaning up private properties along the stretch of road.

Martin said there are 91 property owners along the stretch, and many don't have the glaring problems Clear to Cannon was created to fix. The owners that do, Martin said, haven't turned down the cleanup offers.

"So far," Martin said, "everyone has cooperated and welcomed the help."

On Saturday afternoon, Martin was working on a pile of rubble — created from volunteers demolishing a house the previous day — that he felt was a good example of the overall mission. The house was burned down, and the property owner had medical issues thrust upon them recently as well.

"Most of these people didn't mean (to let properties get this way)," Martin said. "They just got stuck in a situation in life."

Martin said one of the keys to Clear to Cannon working is a complete volunteer effort, without involvement from city, state or county governments. Otherwise, offering such help could be considered a violation of the state's anti-donation clause.

On the first day, more than 50 airmen showed up to volunteer, Lt. Col. Joyce Storm said in a release from the base.

"As proud members of this community, the men and women of Cannon are happy to contribute to a project that is aimed at improving our city," said Storm, 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron commander and project lead for Cannon.

Martin said many businesses have helped in the endeavor by providing services or equipment at low or no cost, but the linchpin is having dozens of Cannon volunteers helping daily.

"These guys, I think they're the best and brightest and smartest America's got to offer," Martin said. "They come out in the 100-degree heat, miserable conditions, and they come out smiling and say, 'What are we doing today?'"

 
 

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