Area goal for litter cleanup on target

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Anti-trash campaign organizers make plans to keep cleanliness after mayors' deadline.

Cape Girardeau County and Scott City are on track to be cleaned up by next month, but participants in a widespread anti-litter campaign are working on a plan for the future as well.

The original challenge issued by the Cape Girardeau and Jackson mayors to reduce litter in the area by July 4 will be met, said Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson.

"I know the effort has been huge and far-reaching. I'm pleased with the progress and passion the group has shown," Knudtson said. "The idea was to do the best job we could and at least temporarily get our town clean."

Businesses and organizations are planning trash pickups between now and July 4, including one through the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and other through private businesses such as the Southeast Missourian.

Doug Austin, who serves on the anti-litter campaign's cleanup committee, said letters will soon be mailed to 38 community organizations asking them to clean up a specific area of the city.

"Lots of people are already trying to get ahead of the game," Austin said. "We want people to think, 'my goodness, this is a clean town.'"

Organizers said the idea behind the July 4 deadline is to launch this initial cleanup effort and follow up with a long-term plan to prevent future litter.

"We're trying to formulate a long-term plan on keeping the area free of litter and an enhancement/beautification program," said David Ludwig, who chairs the beautification subcommittee of the anti-litter campaign.

Ludwig said his group, along with the chamber of commerce, will hold a trash pickup event from 8 a.m. to noon on June 18.

Participants will meet at the chamber of commerce and then spread out over residential areas along Lexington Avenue, Hopper and Kage roads. Gloves, safety vests and trash bags will be provided and the community is invited to participate.

Ludwig's subcommittee is also exploring Keep America Beautiful, a national community improvement program.

Locally, the program would likely involve long-term efforts such as planting shrubs and trees and enhancing neighborhoods and businesses.

Tim Arbeiter, Old Town Cape director and member of the anti-litter campaign's beautification committee, said affiliation with Keep America Beautiful would mean a long-range, widespread approach.

The program would provide assessment of needs, data and other ideas for the local effort, Arbeiter said. Community donations would provide funding.

335-6611, extension 128

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