Man helps clean up block, transforms discarded bottles into treasures
By Tisha Lewis, FOX 32 News Reporter - bio | email
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -
An Avalon park man who believes that fixing Chicago starts in your own backyard is cleaning up his neighborhood one block, and bottle, at a time.
Adrian Keys said he's picked up 30 to 40 bottles in a single park on a typical day.
“These huge bottles are the ones that concern us because they left them there in the park,” Keys said.
The Avalon Park father of three transforms discarded booze bottles into homemade lava treasures using wax, oil and food coloring. He said he’s re-purposed more than 1,500 bottles, he’s even created different color schemes inspired by various events including the Pride Parade and the World Cup.
Keys said that the inspiration to turn the bottles into art came after his daughters complained about the litter left behind in parks, alleys and playgrounds. Four months ago he formed Citizens Cleaning Urban Places. The volunteers collect, clean and re-purpose the glass bottles cluttering the neighborhood. They also sell them for donations at city events. Keys said that the money collected is used for supplies.
We wondered why neighbors were having to clean up, but when we called the City of Chicago, a spokesperson said that the city has plenty of workers who pick up trash in the area.Some neighbors are skeptical that Keys' efforts will make a difference. “I don't think that it stops the violence for it to be clean over here. It doesn't matter if it looks magnificent over here,” said Chelsie Pinkins.
“If you give the individuals in the neighborhood, more so the children, something to do, an outlet to do something so they can say this is my neighborhood, this is my community, this is where I live, I shouldn't have to see these bottles,” said Keys.
FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis reports the decorative bottles may not curb violence in the neighborhood, but that Keys said they are a conversation starter and they do have people talking about how to clean up the block.