JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - On Saturday, residents in South Jackson took to the streets to cleanup and restore their community.
They said their goal is to breathe new life into the area and that first starts with making it look welcoming and appealing.
Many people living in the area have expressed that litter is a big problem plaguing the area.
“We need to stop littering,” said Vernon Hartley, president of Keep Jackson Beautiful. “Littering brings down our property value, it discourages businesses, and it makes our communities unsafe.”
Wanting to bring about change, the Association of South Jackson Neighborhoods and other volunteers had their trash bags and trash pickers in hand ready to spruce up the area.
“It was ‘Operation Cleanup South Jackson,’ so what our goal was to come from Highway 80 corridor, all the way back to Highway 18 and pick up any litter, trash, and debris that we saw,” said Brittany Bowman, with the Association of South Jackson Neighborhoods.
See for Bowman, the cleanup day is personal.
She grew up in South Jackson and says it was once booming with retail and commercial businesses.
“South Jackson was really what North Jackson is, or what Madison is today,” she said. “Back in the day everybody flocked to South Jackson because it was the booming and prominent area. "
She admits, she’s saddened to see what her community has turned into.
“Those businesses have since left, probably, most likely due to the blighted property, not only that, South Jackson has become a rent haven,” said Bowman.
Now she and others are determined to can the trashy problems and create a new image in South Jackson.
“You can get more commercial and retail businesses coming when they see a clean area,” Bowman expressed.
Bowman wants to see more homeowners, retail, and commercial businesses return to the area.
She’s confident South Jackson can get back to what it once was.
However, she knows that first starts with efforts like the one on Saturday.
“They flock to Madison because it’s cleaner when you go there,” Bowman explained. “It looks safer. It may not be, but that’s the image they present to us, so if you clean up your area and beautify it and make it look presentable, then people will want to invest an interest into what they see.”
At the end of the cleanup, the city of Jackson’s Solid Waster Division came in to remove all of the debris.
ASJN plans to have cleanup efforts every month.