Copa Cares, a volunteer organization sponsored by the City of Maricopa and Ace Hardware, is taking its hula hoes to Rancho El Dorado Saturday in its fourth cleanup effort since the program began May 10.

Copa Cares was created to remove weeds and debris from unsightly homes that have been abandoned. Brian Duncan, the city’s senior code compliance officer, says 15-20 volunteers plus teams from local landscape companies have participated in each of three previous cleanups in Acacia Crossings, Alterra and The Villages at Rancho El Dorado. (See COPA Cares and city-paid landscapers to clean up 23 homes.)

Volunteers are a key element to the program’s success, and Duncan is hoping citizens come out to participate in this weekend’s effort. The group, including Mayor Anthony Smith, will meet at Jane Askew Memorial Park at the entrance to Rancho El Dorado at 6 a.m. Food, water and all tools and materials will be provided. “All they have to do is show up,” Duncan said.

Among the companies expected to help Saturday are Ace Hardware, which donates all the tools, DLC Landscaping, H&N Landscaping, Waste Management and Rossmar and Graham, the community’s association management company. There are 25 properties in the development targeted for weed abatement, which Duncan estimates will take two and a half to three hours.

Duncan said the surge in foreclosed homes is a community-wide problem and has a major impact on the city. Copa Cares is helping address the cleanup needed on some of these abandoned properties.

“We want to be a part of the solution,” Duncan said, “not part of the problem.”

Who: Open to the public
What: Copa Cares volunteer cleanup event
When: 6 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 2
Where: Jane Askew Memorial Park, Rancho El Dorado
How much: No charge
What to bring: Nothing; gloves, tools, water, snacks, etc. will be provided


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