Ferriday takes third place in La. Cleanest City Contest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

FERRIDAY — For members of the Ferriday Garden Club, third place isn’t so bad when they consider how far they’ve come.

The results of the Louisiana Garden Club’s Cleanest City Competition are in, with Ferriday finishing third in the regional competition behind Jonesboro and Grambling.

“We are thrilled with this,” Cleanest City Committee Chair Dianne Watson said. “We didn’t dare to hope to place, but in the last week we dared to hope because things began to come together.”

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The competition had become a rallying point to clean up the town, and in recent months Ferriday residents and business people were wearing buttons that read, “Let’s Clean Up Ferriday.”

The garden club and other civic organizations, the town government and citizens pitched in on the effort, picking up litter and branches, removing waste debris, trimming trees and grass and even discovering old sidewalks that had been covered with dirt.

“When we went downtown during the judging, one of the judges said, ‘There isn’t even a leaf on the sidewalk,’” Watson said.

The support the club received from the community helped them receive high marks, Ferriday Garden Club President Sherrill Sasser said.

“The judges were very impressed with the community support we had,” Sasser said.

Though the club has not received a formal letter about the competition, Watson said on the town’s scorecard they were rated 10 of 10 for community involvement.

“We were given 10s with exclamation marks,” she said.

And while the club and other volunteers were working, Watson said numerous members of the community came to them and asked if the cleanup would come to their street.

“They want us to continue and not let things go back to the way they were,” she said.

Those involved in the cleanup other than the garden club included the Matron’s Club, the Women’s Service Club, the Rotary Club and the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce, as well as prison inmates, Watson said.

“I am really grateful for everyone’s work,” she said.

The club’s scrapbook chronicling the before and after work of the project also received high praise from the judges, Sasser said.

“We were told we had the most outstanding scrapbook of the three, which is something because this is the first one we have done in years,” Watson said.

The other communities have been involved in the competition before and were further along in their work, but now that Ferriday knows what to do, they plan to give the competition a real run for their money next year, Watson said.

“We are going to try to beat everybody next year,” she said.