Santa Barbara County Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino talks about the Santa Maria in Action program launched by Councilman Carlos Escobedo to encourage people to take ownership of their neighborhoods.
Santa Barbara County Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, left, talks about the Santa Maria in Action program launched by Councilman Carlos Escobedo to encourage people to take ownership of their neighborhoods. A group of volunteers has joined the Santa Maria Adopt-A-Road program, vowing to keep Blosser Road clean between Taylor Street and Atlantic Place. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A group of volunteers has taken action to improve Santa Maria.

Santa Maria in Action, launched by Councilman Carlos Escobedo, has vowed to keep Blosser Road between Taylor Street and Atlantic Place clean of trash under the city’s Adopt-A-Road program.

Approximately two dozen people showed up on Saturday for the unveiling of the sign showing the volunteers’ commitment.

“This is not a city street. It’s a community street,” Escobedo said. “This is our community.”

“You guys, if you are walking some day and you see some trash, remember that this is our street so let’s take care of it,” he told volunteers gathered near the corner of Blosser Road and Taylor Street.

Santa Barbara County Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino encouraged the grassroots effort, adding that relying on government doesn’t ensure that projects get done. 

“It’s always going to be the citizens coming together,” he said. “I appreciate it because I do hear a lot of people that want things done in the city. The best way to make that happen is (for) us to do it.”

The Blosser project is part of Santa Maria in Action’s wider effort to improve neighborhoods by cleaning up trash distributed by Santa Maria’s winds, planting trees or doing other chores to improve the community.

Santa Maria in Action volunteers.

Santa Maria in Action volunteers gather Saturday for a picture at the site where a new sign will note their commitment to keeping Blosser Road free of trash between Taylor Street and Atlantic Place. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s not just about cleaning and planting and doing activities; it’s about creating ownership of our community,” Escobedo said, adding that it will gather momentum to lead people to caring more about Santa Maria. 

While Escobedo represents District 1, he said the volunteers have done projects across the city. They also paired up with Serve Santa Maria, a wider community service effort that occurs twice a year for projects across the Santa Maria Valley.

“Sometimes you have this idea in your mind and you start trying to make it happen, but you realize you cannot do it without the help of others,” Escobedo said. “You cannot do it by yourself. You can start it, but you need people that share those values, that energy and motivation.”

Santa Maria in Action gathers one or two times a month to tackle projects, some suggested by volunteers who note a trashy street needing their effort.

On some days, he said, he was ready to go home, but the volunteers’ enthusiasm kept him volunteering. 

“Today’s about you guys because Santa Maria in Action wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you,” Escobedo said. 

He noted the dedication of volunteers who routinely have chosen to show up and give back to the community instead of sleeping in on their Saturdays.

Santa Maris in Action began in 2021 with a few volunteers picking up trash on Blosser, explaining he was spurred into action by noticing the trash on one of his regular walks. 

Santa Maria Councilman Carlos Escobedo joins volunteers on Saturday to unveil the sign declaring Santa Maria in Action’s role in keeping Blosser Road clean.

Santa Maria Councilman Carlos Escobedo joins volunteers on Saturday to unveil the sign declaring Santa Maria in Action’s role in keeping Blosser Road clean. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s growing, so I’m looking forward to seeing this replicated all around the city,” Escobedo said.

Lavagnino echoed the same goal.

“What I’d like to see is this replicated in all the other council districts so that everybody gets a team together, we all go out and clean up our own neighborhoods,” Lavagnino said.

Santa Maria’s Adopt-A-Road program hasn’t attracted much attention, but had six other groups of volunteers who in four years completed more than 948 hours of service and continuously maintained more than 3 miles of roadway and more than 4 acres of parks, city leaders said in 2021.

“Basically, we’re looking at neighborhoods stepping up like this group has done,” Recreation and Parks Director Alex Posada said.

For more information on the Adopt-A-Road program, visit cityofsantamaria.org/adoptaroad or call the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department 805.925.0951 x2260.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.