Local Cleanup volunteers take to the streets

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; It’s an idea that, well, just blossomed.

Keep Natchez-Adams County Beautiful enlisted the Downtown Development Association and Chamber of Commerce to help spruce up the area. Then student groups and Natchez public works employees got into the act.

The result? By 5 p.m. today at least 170 Natchez-Adams residents, from elementary students to retirees, will have participated in local Great American Cleanup events.

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On Friday, volunteers and public works employees planted flowers, picked up litter and pulled weeds downtown, and elementary students picked up trash in Morgantown. Today, cleanups will take place downtown and throughout the county.

Last year, nearly 2.3 million people volunteered for the Great American Cleanup sponsored by Keep America Beautiful. This year, groups nationwide plan to take part in cleanups ranging from graffiti removal to refurbishing playgrounds to collecting recyclables.

And with good reason, said Arella Bacon, coordinator of Keep Natchez-Adams County Beautiful. Sprucing the area’s neighborhoods and thoroughfares &uot;gives people pride in their community,&uot; Bacon said.

In addition, keeping the area clean makes a good impression on tourists and on people looking to move to the Miss-Lou, said KNACB Co-Chairwoman Routh Crowell.

Public works employees and volunteers of Keep Natchez-Adams County Beautiful, the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Development Association could be seen cleaning up along downtown streets as early as 8 a.m. Friday.

&uot;We weed-eated along streets and sidewalks and picked up trash, and then we started on the flowerbeds &045; 10 so far,&uot; chamber Executive Director Laura Godfrey said during a brief break. Nearby, NDDA Executive Director Tammi Mullins was busy watering Franklin Street flowerbeds.

About 120 Morgantown Elementary students, mostly 4-H and Beta Club members, and Ruriteen members also signed up to pick up trash Friday in the Morgantown area. &uot;They started cleaning up before we even got them (trash) bags and gloves,&uot; said Bacon, taking a break from pulling grass from flowerbeds in front of the Main Street Marketplace.

Today, about 50 volunteers will clean up in downtown, along Lower Woodville and Saragossa roads, and at Lynwood Park.

Perhaps that’s appropriate, since helping turn a trashy wooded area into a neighborhood park was one project that made Bacon see what can happen when people invest in beautifying their communities.

Before that cleanup, the park area was a hangout for criminals, Bacon said.

&uot;But when we cleaned that area, it caused a lot of those hanging around doing drugs to leave,&uot; she said. &uot;When you take care of your community, it causes some things that are going wrong there to disappear.&uot;

To sign up for more cleanup projects through the end of May, call Crowell at 442-3831 or Hattie Fleming at 446-5369.