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FGC, Ferriday win district cleanest city contest, ready for state judging

Ferriday — The Ferriday Garden Club can mark one big thing off of its to-do list.

Club members recently learned the town of Ferriday won the district competition in in the Louisiana Garden Club Federations’ Cleanest City Competition.

But there is still one more item awaiting a check mark. The club and town have set their eyes on winning the state’s cleanest city title.

Ferriday competes against towns of similar size in the competition and beat out Farmerville and Jonesboro in the district competition and will be judged against Arcadia and Amite City in the state contest.

This was Ferriday’s second year to enter the contest. The town finished third out of four towns in district last year.

“The town has really been behind us,” Ferriday Garden Club member Lena Bateman said. “Since this was our second year, people were more aware and more organized in the efforts to help clean up Ferriday.

“This year we had more people and groups that we didn’t even know out picking up trash and saying they wanted to help us.”

While the club had to enter on the town’s behalf, Bateman said the project has always been about improving Ferriday and not bringing attention to the club. She said the number of groups and individuals who helped with clean-up efforts along with support from the Town of Ferriday, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office and other entities in Concordia Parish was evidence that the area was in support of the club’s mission.

State contest judging will follow the same route as district judging which must include public buildings like town hall, schools, hospitals, a residential area and main streets in town.

One of the biggest projects this year was the cleaning of Bayou Memorial Park. The club was able to enlist the help of the Concordia Parish Police Jury’s equipment and CPSO inmate crews to get the litter out of the bayou.

Bateman said even though the town fared well in district, no one is taking a break before the state judges arrive.

“We already have a list of things that need to be done before state,” Bateman said. “We need street signs straightened, grass from around curbs and sidewalks cleaned and of course litter, litter, litter. We are putting finishing touches on what we have already done.”

Sherrill Sasser, president of the Ferriday Garden Club, said although she saw the effort all the volunteers put to make Ferriday cleaner, she was still surprised when she learned of the district win.

“I knew we worked hard, but you never know what the other towns have done,” Sasser said. “We knew the other two towns had won this before so winning shows all the hard work was worth it.”

Sasser said since the town participated last year, people were more aware when competition time rolled around this year.

“The work we did last year was a good base to start with this year,” she said. “Some of the hard work we did last year didn’t need as much attention this year so we could focus on the details.

“This is not a beautification contest. It is all about cleanliness so those details like litter are a big deal.”

To get ready for the district competition the Ferriday Garden Club organized town clean-up days, but with just a short time until the state competition, Bateman said there is no time to organize another clean-up day.

Instead she said club members are depending on citizens, civic groups and business owners to be diligent about cleanliness in town.

“We have already sent an e-mail to civic clubs and the town to let them know we won district and are getting ready for state,” Bateman said. “We are going to send another letter to businesses and property owners on the route to tell them we won and want to continue the efforts for the state judging and after.”

State judging will be Tuesday, April 27.

There will be a public reception at the Concordia Parish Library in Ferriday beginning at 2 p.m.

Bateman said judging always seems to fall on garbage pick-up day and said it would be helpful if residents would remove trash cans from the side of the road and place them somewhere out of sight from the road.

“Every little bit helps,” she said.