This evening at 6 o’clock in the Community Center on North Sioux, citizens have an opportunity to learn how the City’s newly formed Community Image Department along with citizen volunteerism can and will work together to make Claremore not only a safe and healthy place but also a more beautiful place to live.

City codes and ordinances ruling such items as tall grass, yard debris and building maintenance are in place to “force” compliance with this objective. City Operations Manager Matt Mueller knows, however, the most effective effort will be driven by people who care enough to personally invest their own time, talents and treasures — first in their own back and front yards and then in the community-at-large.

And Mueller is not the “do as I say, not as I do” type. Since moving to Claremore he has spent weekends and evenings — on past dark — clearing, mowing, trimming and rebuilding his own yard and area into what is fast becoming a neighborhood showplace.

Tonight’s meeting is an education session. Citizens can learn about codes and ordinances already “on the books.” They will also have an opportunity to see how book learning requires people power to affect change — more than what is now available through the City’s tax-paid employees.

As Mueller said, enforcement should be a last resort. This negative approach costs time and money. The more effective approach asks every person living in Claremore to educate themselves about community standards and take personal responsibility for meeting those standards. Then going beyond. Going beyond may require formation of a Claremore Beautiful group willing and able to reach out and help those (i.e. senior citizens, the disabled, the low income) who do not have resources or ability.

This movement to make Claremore a more beautiful place to live, work and visit is as simple as the recent example of weeds at the ballpark and dirty public restrooms. As one park proponent pointed out, during prime growing season and league play, there is not enough time available to pull every weed, let alone clean up public restrooms throughout the day following thousands of children, their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends who have been less than considerate when using the facilities.

It’s a given, children, as well as adults, should understand the value of placing that one piece of trash in a trash can and how respecting public property is a way of giving back. Applying this lesson on a citywide level will take commitment on the part of a few at first, but participation will grow and the benefits will be nothing less than beautiful.

With Claremore’s natural beauty there is no reason for it not to be known as the most beautiful community in Oklahoma.