The Austin Chronicle

More Hope Restored

By Jordan Smith, July 16, 2004, News

The community-policing gurus in the Austin Police Department's North Central Area Command and their public and private partners – including the Austin Fire Department and Browning-Ferris Industries waste systems – claimed another success on July 10, with the success of their cleanup efforts on Galewood Drive, the second phase of the ongoing cleanup initiative, Operation Restore Hope. On Saturday, 345 neighbors and volunteers joined the Galewood cleanup efforts, 70 neighborhood kids got a dose of fire-safety training in AFD's Smokehouse, and BFI reported hauling off nearly 13 tons of trash.

Operation Restore Hope is the brainchild of the NCAC leaders – Cmdr. Robert Gross, Lt. Randy Pasley, and Sgt. Will Beechinor – who worked together on a plan to address North Central's pockets of neglect-blighted neighborhoods. Pasley researched and then drafted the ORH blueprint, which the NC7 team (the three supervisors and the four district representatives, Officers James Hellums, Gizette Gaslin, Dale Cooper and Hank Moreno) put into action last fall on Brownie Drive – with help from more than 15 city departments and private sector partners.

And the plan continues to pick up steam – earning the NC7 praise and attracting state and national attention. The NC7 won awards from both Keep Austin Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful, and now, Pasley said, he has begun talking with the United Way, which is interested in being involved in future ORH projects. Further, the NC7 are currently exploring the possibility of creating a neighborhood park on Brownie Drive, which Hellums said they hope to dedicate to the memory of a dead infant found discarded in a drainage pipe near there. (For more on the NC7, see "North Central Blues," May 7.) For more on Operation Restore Hope, or to volunteer for future cleanups, call Kay Vargas at 834-7402.

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