Ferriday spruces streets

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ferriday — Armed with rakes, shovels and pruning shears, volunteers were spread out across Ferriday pulling weeds, picking up trash and pruning bushes.

Saturday’s clean up was part of a final push to get Ferriday clean before the April 1 judging of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation’s Cleanest City Contest. The clean-up initiative is being sponsored by the Ferriday Garden Club, but volunteers from the City of Ferriday, the Ferriday Fire Department and several civic groups were filling trash bags with litter, edging sidewalks and raking up debris.

“To enter you have to be sponsored by a garden club, but it is not for the glory of the club,” Beautification chairman Lena Bateman said. “It is about having pride in the city. We all live here.”

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Dianne Watson, chairperson for the Ferriday cleanest city campaign, said with the April 1 judging just around the corner, it was time to get out in full force.

“We are hitting the high spots today,” she said. “We have a long to-do list so we are doing what we can.”

Bateman said one of the focuses of the clean up was the sidewalks in the downtown area.

“I didn’t even know there were sidewalks in some places. There was dirt this high in one area,” Bateman said while spreading her fingers about an inch apart.

Bateman said that while the campaign was the original reason for the clean up efforts that started several months ago, the real reward won’t be a win in the contest.

“We want to create a pride in the community that will continue after the contest is over,” Bateman said.

Watson said people around town have already started noticing the clean up efforts and are enjoying the improved Ferriday.

“People who see us out work tell us thank you and say they appreciation it,” Watson said. “People are starting to stroll on the sidewalks and enjoy walking outside more.”

Saturday’s clean up is the final organized event for the cleanest city clean up, but Watson said the group is by no means finished.

“We’ll spend the next week on the finishing touches and picking up what we can,” she said. “Men are good with the Weedeaters, but we’ll go and pick up their debris.”

She also said there was plenty other community members could do to help the city get ready for the Cleanest City Contest judges to arrive from Monroe, La.

Watson said it would be a big help is community members would be pick up litter in front of businesses and put their garbage cans close to the house after garbage pick up.

“If the garbage cans can be put near the house and away from the street, judges will notice how neat that looks,” she said.

Watson said despite the hard work put in over the last few months, there is still more work to do. And she, along with the rest of the Ferriday Garden Club, are committed.

“When we started it was like looking up at Mount Everest. But we’ll keep working and enter again next year and the year after that,” Watson said. “One day, Ferriday will win.”