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Meridian volunteers ready to clean up city

By Staff
CLEANING MATERIALS – Morgan Solt, right, Dennis Humphrey, middle, and Amber Drake, background, organize tools Wednesday that volunteers will use for Meridian's first Downtown Clean-up set for Friday and Saturday. PHOTO BY FREDIE CARMICHAEL / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / Staff writer
October 17, 2002
Sharon Smith spent much of Wednesday with an ear pressed against her blue Nokia cell phone, sorting through paperwork and plotting out final details for the first Downtown Clean-up.
Smith, Main Street manager for the city of Meridian, is the head of one of several local organizations partnering to clean areas of downtown Meridian on Friday and Saturday.
Meridian Community College will get a head start on the clean-up campaign today when about 20 students participating in the annual My College Cares Day meet with Smith to begin work on downtown areas.
Then on Friday and Saturday, area churches, schools, clubs and other organizations and residents will continue the effort by sweeping city streets, picking up trash and weeding empty lots and parks.
The downtown area designated for clean up is bordered by Front and 14th streets and 17th and 26th avenues. Volunteers also will work Front Street Extension to the intersection of Fifth and Sixth streets.
Smith said more than 200 people already have signed up for the cleanup. She said volunteers will work three-hour shifts, with some groups working in the morning and some in the afternoon.
Workers will receive a free T-shirt and refreshments. But some of the volunteers said they hope to get more than that out of helping to clean their city.
Since organizers began planning the cleanup project, more and more residents have become involved. Smith said the project was started from a relatively "simple idea."
Smith said the beautification project is more about educating the public or cleaning the city. She said people can clean the city for two days and it will look great for several weeks.