Stonegate community resident and volunteer Oliva McCain (left) picks up trash and storm debris along Montrose Street with fellow residents Vanessa and Elias Ward, during an Aug. 13 community beautification event.
Stonegate community resident and volunteer Oliva McCain (left) picks up trash and storm debris along Montrose Street with fellow residents Vanessa and Elias Ward, during an Aug. 13 community beautification event. (Photo Credit: Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Residents of Fort Leonard Wood’s North Stonegate community volunteered their time Aug. 13 during a beautification effort organized by the neighborhood’s mayor, Ty Fogal.

The 10 volunteers at the 2.5-hour event focused on removing trash and storm debris from Montrose Street and were able to fill a 16-foot-trailer provided by Balfour Beatty Communities, Fort Leonard Wood’s housing partner.

It was a joint effort between the mayoral program and BBC, and Fogal said the event also opened lines of communication between residents and housing management here.

“We were able to meet with residents, discuss future events and allow them to meet some of the management team, which builds trust between residents and management,” Fogal said.

Community Manager Jason Williams said BBC was proud to participate, and that the most significant accomplishment during the event was getting members of the community involved in the initiative, which sets a foundation for future events.

“These programs increase curb appeal for residents and the community,” Williams said. “They provide a cleaner and safer community for the residents and their children.”

Volunteer and Stonegate resident Olivia McCain heard about the event on the Stonegate community Facebook page and said she wanted to get out and make a difference.

“Our mayor works hard to ensure the residents of Stonegate are heard and that their concerns are taken seriously,” she said. “Events like this allow residents to play an active role in making sure the community is kept clean and safe for everyone.”

McCain recommended fellow residents join the neighborhood Facebook group to learn about upcoming events, and said she hopes to see even more participation in the future.

The Aug. 13 event was the first of its kind since the housing mayoral program was reinstated in March.

Since becoming the elected mayor, Fogal has been active in his community and within the Garrison; he is a liaison between the two to provide updates and foster communication.

“It's my responsibility to help improve the community however I can, but I really just want to do whatever I can to make living conditions here the best they can be,” Fogal said.

As mayor, Fogal said he plans to organize more beautification events, but would also like to host social events, like mayoral town halls and events that support spouses of deployed service members. His hope is this event will highlight how BBC and Fort Leonard Wood are working together to improve quality of life for residents, and the mayoral program is one part of that.

“My long-term goal is for residents to trust that the mayor of the community is here to help them with any issues that may arise, and that they are not alone when facing struggles with their living conditions,” he said.

Fogal added that increased community involvement not only leads to cleaner neighborhoods, it gives residents the opportunity to meet their neighbors and possibly form long-lasting friendships.

Williams agreed.

“We would like the community to know how the mayoral program positively impacts the neighborhood and the improvements we all have made,” he said. “Increasing involvement with these programs will directly impact future success, and we encourage all residents to participate.”

Residents of the Stonegate community who want more information about the community or future events, have suggestions or would like to voice concerns, can contact Fogal directly via email at stonegatemayor@gmail.com, or join the Stonegate community Facebook group.

Fogal said he welcomes any and all suggestions.

“I put as much information as I have on the page,” Fogal said. “Great ideas come from everyone, not just one person, and everyone's opinion matters when improving a community or the Garrison.”