Occasionally, I’ll drive the streets of Hazlehurst and look at things as though I am a visitor to town. It’s disturbing.
Overgrown shrubbery, kneehigh and waisthigh weeds, trash on the sides of the roads, dilapidated buildings, abandoned eyesores, faded signs …. you get the sordid picture. We usually drive through our towns and countrysides without really seeing them. So used to the landscape, we seldom pay the unsightly mess any attention.
This is in no way meant to disparage our city and county governments. They do the best they can but city and county officials, employees, code enforcement folks, etc., can’t do the job alone. They need the public’s cooperation. And, besides, its a community-wide problem.
There are people — lots of people — who care about the impression outsiders get when they visit our area. But we need more.
When I moved to Hazlehurst 45 years ago, I spent time riding the streets and roads to get an idea of my new home and the area I would cover as newspaper editor. I still remember my first impression: I was appalled at how many people irresponsibly used the roadsides for their dumping grounds. When it would rain, the roadside ditches would fill with water, lifting many items hidden in the ditches’ overgrown weedbeds for all to see. And below there were beer bottles —- thousands of them.
Things are much better today as environmental awareness has grown by leaps and bounds over the last four decades. But the problem is far from being solved.
I plan this week to sweep outside my own front door here on Latimer Street. There are some unsightly weeds that need attention, among other problems on the street where I toil away all week.
I’ve talked to a few people lately about organizing some type of group to take on the task of improving our city’s appearance. I’ve gotten a positive response. There are many people who want to do something but they need guidance, leadership, a catalyst, ideas.
A Chamber of Commerce beautification committee did just that many years back and the transformation was remarkable. But the followup play was lacking. Today, weeds periodically overtake the landscaped plots. City workers do what they can, but these areas need a person or persons to take on each of these areas as a personal responsibility. As a watchdog, and worker, to maintain them.
If your interested in helping out, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll compile a list of civic minded citizens willing to go the extra mile for our town. And, together, we’ll go to work.