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Friday, April 26, 2013

Clean Up Riverview: Taking Pride in the Community

It's almost impossible to get a little boy to keep his room clean.

But when it comes to cleaning up a NEIGHBORHOOD, we found one 9 year old, eager to pick up after his COMMUNITY.

Jalyn Smith, a student at Jackson Elementary in Kingsport, spent his Saturday morning recently, helping his fellow New Vision Kids clean up Riverview.

And just like cleaning his room.... he's a little miffed about having to do it.

"I don't think people should throw down trash," he says.  "They're the ones who made the mess and we're the ones who have to clean it up."

"It's just not right."

The kids joined residents of Riverview and participants in the area Community Services Division in picking up trash in the neighborhood.  The event started out at the Douglass Ballfield, and trash collectors fanned out through the streets and alleys of Riverview and 'cross town to Sullivan, Dale, Oak, Maple, Sevier and East Center Streets.

"Several years ago, clean-ups were necessary because the streets and alleys were not very well kept," says Jeannie Hodges of South Central Kingsport Community Development, one of the organizations sponsoring the event.  "Over the years, residents have been proud to see the progress that's been made.  Now, we have fall and spring clean-ups.  It's no where as much litter as there used to be."

On the other side of East Sevier, Rick Watson is working with a group cleaning up trash and debris in the alley between Sevier and Myrtle Streets.  Watson is working off some community service responsibilities, but says, he probably would have come out to help keep one of Kingsport's oldest neighborhoods clean anyway.

"Well actually, I enjoy helping clean up the community," he says.  "When I drive around town, I don't have to look at the nasty mess.  It's a service for folks who can't get out here and clean it up.  It helps people who don't have a choice whether they can come out and clean up the trash."

Along with South Central Kingsport, the twice-a-year clean-up is sponsored by New Vision Kinds, Kingsport Parks and Recreation and Kingsport Public Works, with assistance from the Community Services Division..  This spring, more than 80 people took part in making the Riverview neighborhood litter-free, making it one of the most well-attended clean-ups ever.

"Everybody walked long distances picking up trash," Hodges says, "but the South Central Kingsport community is the benefactor.  "This year, folks could sit out trash that's been building up around the house for months, and Public Works trucks picked it all up, in addition to the bags of litter collected."

"It's become a great tradition."

Meanwhile, just like Jalyn, Watson has a message for people who would throw down trash and just walk away.

"I'd tell 'em they should come out here and see what it does to the community," he says.  "Look around,  there's trash cans everywhere and people just want to toss it on the ground.. it doesn't make sense.  There's a dumptster right there, a garbage can over here, waste cans at every corner."

"It's ridiculous."


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