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Houston spruces up for big game
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06/23/2004  7:12 AM ET
Houston spruces up for big game
Volunteers participate in All-Star cleanup
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
HOUSTON -- The city of Houston is known for many things -- heat, humidity, good restaurants, traffic, friendly people. But shrubbery? That may be a stretch.

Thanks to Trees for Houston, a volunteer nonprofit organization, the city of Houston is about to become a little shadier. Between now and July 11, 4,000 new trees will be planted by the organization.

Trees For Houston, according to its Web site, is dedicated to the orderly planting of street trees along Houston's major arterial streets and freeways. Since its inception in 1983, it has been responsible for the planting and monitoring of almost 151,000 street trees and seedlings.

"It's pretty cool. They're planting trees on all of the entry ways into the city and the freeways," said Astros president of business operations Pam Gardner.

And that's only one part of the overall beautification effort going on in preparation for the All-Star Game. On Saturday, more than 1,000 volunteers will report to the parking lot at Minute Maid Park at 8 a.m. to begin the All-Star Family Day Cleanup, a four-hour effort to make the city shine.

Families, nonprofit groups, summer sports leagues, churches, scout troops and corporations are expected to participate, as is a group of volunteers from the Astros front office staff.

"It's a general cleanup on the streets and graffiti cleanup," Gardner said. "And they're all volunteers, just people who signed up on the Keep Houston Beautiful Web site."

Lunch will be served outside Minute Maid Park, and all participants will receive tickets to a future Astros game.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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