Group rallies to clean up park

Published 11:41 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

NATCHEZ — Instead of sleeping in or taking a late breakfast Saturday, a group of local citizens got up to make a difference, one leaf pile at a time.

The group Keep Natchez-Adams County Beautiful rallied together at Memorial Park to participate locally in the national Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, an effort to have a clean-up in every community in United States from March to May.

The Natchez-Adams County group has been involved in the effort for approximately 10 years, member Stephanie Hutchins said.

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The group chose Memorial Park because of its centrality and popularity as a downtown stopping point.

“The Downtown Development Association asked us to work with them to get the park in shape because of all the festivals and different events they hold here through the year, Hutchins said.

Members of the Natchez Youth Build, a local skill-building program for high school dropouts, joined the group.

Youth build members have to do community service, and Saturday’s activities seemed like a good place to start, Keep Natchez-Adams County Beautiful Coordinator Darlene Jones said.

“It was a perfect fit,” Hutchins said.

Some volunteers manned leaf blowers, some hoed flower beds, some raked and others just picked up bunches of leaves with their hands.

What was an early start to the day for most teenagers didn’t seem to faze Brittany Coach.

“It feels great to be out here,” she said.

Volunteer Preston Carr was also glad to be there.

“I am a little tired, but I feel good because I am helping the community,” he said.

Outdoor power equipment company Troy-Bilt donated a leaf blower to the cause, the Glad plastic bag-products company also gave to the effort and Pepsi donated water, Hutchins said.

“We have no money, but these national groups help with these events and help us in the community,” she said.

But the clean-up depends just as much on another group, Hutchins said.

“Like in any city, it’s volunteers who make things happen,” she said.