Taking out the trash

Beach Maintenance

Beach Maintenance Technicians Jesse Hyman, Alex Jenkins, Napoleon Hill, Austin Clayton (not pictured) and supervisor Mark Cothran spend 40 hours each week keeping Gulf County’s beaches clean.

Wes Locher | The Star
Published: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM.

Since Memorial Day weekend, the Gulf County Tourist Development Council has upped its credibility exponentially when it comes to cleaning up the beaches.

With the addition of three beach ambassadors, residents who spread goodwill from the shorelines of St. Joe Beach to Indian Pass, also came the role of the beach maintenance technician.

The role of a technician – until this year inmate crews cleaned the beaches but restrictions on those crews led to issues – is to keep the area parks and beaches clean of refuse and in ensure that public areas are and remain in good shape.

Since July, the four technicians have hauled more than 80,000 pounds of trash to keep Gulf County clean for both its residents and visitors.

When the pilot program began, Napoleon Hill, a lifelong county resident, was the only technician, but as visitors flooded the area to begin summer vacations, Hill found himself quickly overwhelmed.

TDC executive director Jennifer Jenkins sought approval to hire additional employees.

The technicians are now overseen by Mark Cothran in the county’s Public Works department. Cothran restructured the program and hired new technicians Jesse Hyman, Alex Jenkins and Austin Clayton to help stay ahead of the trash.

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