Keep Mississippi Beautiful

By Sarah Kountouris, Executive Director, Keep Mississippi Beautiful

Kamien Way was once a bit tired. And because its proximity to downtown it was definitely not a place that the city of Cleveland, Miss., wanted visitors to see.

But now that’s changed, thanks to help of 350-plus volunteers who turned out for our Great American Cleanup State Kickoff in early April.

Volunteers transformed the alley into a place merchants and visitors can use. And they also spruced up local parks and removed litter from the Delta town’s streets.

Keep Mississippi Beautiful partnered with Keep Cleveland Beautiful, and many other groups who helped make this event possible. A special thanks to Keep Cleveland Beautiful’s executive director, Lisa Cooley, who was the driving force behind this successful event.

Most of our volunteers were from Delta State University, and we were so excited to have the younger generation be a part of the cleanup effort. Plus, it’s neat to see all of the social media buzz they bring with them!

Lisa said it best: “It’s very refreshing to see kids get involved, especially with the hope they will be environmentally responsible adults one day.”

Other partners included: the City of Cleveland (i.e. public works, fire department, parks commission), Joe Reed Dirt, The Sherwin-Williams Company, Sanders Seed, Heidi’s, Sonic, Lenny’s, Keep Cleveland Boring, Bolivar County Literacy Council, Guaranty Bank, Master Gardeners, Cleveland Rent-All, RES, Entergy, JLP Law, Troy-Bilt, and many others.

The alley was the cleanup’s signature project, during which we cleaned up debris, trimmed overgrown plants and painted bare walls. We have plans to add a few murals, and this cleanup effort paved the way for those additional projects. With this work complete, the alley is another asset to the city’s cute downtown, providing parking space and a gathering place. The vision is one day to hold events in the alley, such as concerts and festivals.

This event serves as a foundation for future improvement projects for the alley. As Lisa put it: “The community is so excited about the project. I’ve already had numerous calls about when the next cleanup will take place! We’re excited to see what happens next!”

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