Social Circle planning Citywide Cleanup this Saturday

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- It's time to "Feed the Litter Critter," according to the folks with the Clean City Social Circle Committee, which is hosting the Citywide Cleanup on Saturday.

Committee Coordinator Madelyn Burgess said judging from previous events, she expects a large and enthusiastic turnout for the work day.

"We have a lot of people who come out for this. Last time we had about 90," she said. "We started the Citywide Pickup campaign in 2007 so we're in our fifth year. We've had a terrific response, and it seems to get bigger and better every year."

Participants will include the mayor, members of the city council, civic clubs and other groups, as well as ordinary private citizens. There will be plenty of work to do, and organizers are hoping there will be plenty of new participants coming out to assist.

"Instead of an Adopt-A-Mile program, we broke the city down in about 40 small areas," Burgess said, adding that businesses, churches, civic clubs and other groups have each adopted a segment.

Participants are asked to wear old work clothes and gloves and meet at the Community Room at 138 E. Hightower Trail at 8 a.m. Coffee and biscuits will be served. The event will last "until your group's adopted street is completed or 11 a.m.," according to a flier for the event.

Burgess said trash and debris come in all forms.

"We're attacking it on all fronts," she said. "Of course, there's people just throwing stuff on the ground, but we've also had issues with abandoned cars, deteriorating structures and abandoned houses. The city is stepping up enforcement of ordinances dealing with abandoned homes and properties, and they're also dealing with the junk auto issues."

She said, unfortunately, trash would always exist, but she believes her committee is making inroads.

"It's an ongoing problem," she said. "But I think it's diminished based on the number of bags we've picked up."

Burgess said one of the ways her committee is hoping to make progress is to begin teaching young people the destructive effect of trash in the community.

"When we get the Boys and Girls Club to pick up other people's trash, that makes an impression," she said. "We're getting pretty active in the schools."

She said they had recently had a Litter Critter art competition to create a mascot and logo for the committee.

Burgess said Elaine Oakes, director of Walton County Clean and Beautiful, serves on the Social Circle committee and acts as a mentor for the group. She also praised Better Hometown Program Manager Mike Miller for his assistance.