Keep MS Beautiful plans largest cleanup in state
by Courtney Warren
Mar 25, 2014 | 2243 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Keep Cleveland Beautiful, a group under the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce will hold a kickoff with Keep Mississippi Beautiful in April and volunteers will cleanup and revamp specific areas in the city.

Keep Mississippi Beautiful is under the umbrella of Keep America Beautiful.

According to Lisa Cooley, Team Cleveland-Main Street director, the event begins at 8 a.m. with a kick-off ceremony that will last about 25 minutes at the train depot downtown.

"It allows us to thank our volunteers, sponsors, city and state leaders and rally the troops. Immediately following the ceremony, volunteers will be dispersed to different sites," she said.

Cooley recently attended a city board meeting to ask for help from the board members and public works.

"The city has been an amazing partner for this event. Ray Bell, Scott Fuquay and the public works department have helped us throughout the entire process; from planning the projects to take on, to helping us determine the supplies needed, even down to designing the landscaping project. They are helping us prep the sites prior to the events as well. For example, they are spraying weed killer downtown to prepare for our crews, they are going to cut back trees and limbs and remove debris for us, etc. Without the support of the city and the public works department, the scale of the project would have been much smaller," she explained.

Local businesses and community members have also helped provide items for the event.

" We have tons of partners and have received so many donations for this event. Keep Mississippi Beautiful donated the T-shirts. We are so lucky to have such amazing businesses that have stepped up in a big way for this event," said Cooley.

Cooley said she hopes to have 250-300 volunteers and a lot of Delta State students have signed up for the events including athletic teams, sororities, and fraternities.

"We hope that a lot of civic groups help out as well. In addition to the large events that are planned for the day, we’ve sent letters to schools and churches asking them to get involved by cleaning around their campus and neighborhoods. We will even provide trash bags and gloves for anyone who is interested in helping to cleanup and we do expect city officials to get involved with the cleanup," she added.

The cleanup will focus on three major areas: Kamien Way, Fireman's Park and Amzie Moore Park.

"For Kamien Way (the alley behind businesses on Sharpe Street), we are doing a general cleanup. We will pick up litter, remove or paint over graffiti, trim bushes/trees, post addresses and store names on the back of participating business’ doors, pour gravel in certain areas, etc.," explained Cooley.

"For Fireman’s Park, we will start with dirt work to address irrigation problems in the park. Ten loads of dirt have been donated. We will spread dirt, remove graffiti from the pavilion, replace benches around tennis courts, weed eat, cleanup gravel that has spilled from the playground onto the sidewalk, and plant landscaping around the monument in the center of the park," she said.

"For Amzie Moore Park, we will bring in dirt, we will landscape around the entrance sign and plant a few crepe myrtles at the entrance of the baseball park, we will repaint playground equipment, replace picnic tables and trash receptacles, and address graffiti at the pavilion," she added.

Cooley also said, "Most of what will take place has been donated by our amazing corporate sponsors and Keep Mississippi Beautiful. KMB purchased $4,000 worth of benches, picnic tables, and trash receptacles for the parks; purchased 350 T-shirts for volunteers; and purchased landscaping for Fireman’s Park and Amzie Moore Park. Well over $10,000 worth of supplies have been donated to date!"

Cooley expressed the importance of the cleanup and why volunteers should want to Keep Cleveland Beautiful.

"Keeping a community clean and attractive is very important not only for the message that we send to visitors but it also creates a sense of pride in your community. It’s amazing how many benefits come from communities that look good- even property values are affected. We want for people to invest in Cleveland. Cleanup projects are a way for residents to invest in our community," she said.

This event will be the largest cleanup event in the state because Keep Mississippi Beautiful selected Keep Cleveland Beautiful as the kick-off site for the state, however Cooley said the group would like to have a fall cleanup and recycling drive as well as a spring cleanup.

"Keep America Beautiful provides a lot of resources for its affiliates and we want to really take advantage of those resources," she added.

Cooley encourages all and any volunteers to participate. Volunteers can either call the chamber at 662-843-2712 or show up on the day of the event.

The event headquarters will be the downtown pavilion and workers can go to the pavilion to get a T-shirt and instructions about where to start.