More than 300 volunteers came out Saturday for a citywide community cleanup event, Mayor Shirley Washington said.
Organizers ran out of gloves and vests at one point due to the surge in participation from volunteers ranging from the Pine Bluff High School Class of 2018, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football and basketball teams, elementary school students, local church groups and senior citizens, Washington said.
“It was probably closer to 400 [participants],” Washington said. “It was the best cleanup that we’ve ever had. We had probably four or five trailer loads of trash that were hauled away.”
Volunteers met in the morning at Southeast Middle School, then fanned out into different areas to pick up trash along Olive Street and East Harding Avenue. The cleanup was part of an anti-litter campaign from the mayor’s office called, “Make Progress, Not Litter.” Washington said similar cleanups will take place on the fourth Saturday of each month.
Volunteers were fed breakfast and lunch, and given gloves and vests bearing an emblem on the back promoting the anti-litter message.
“We’re trying to get the message out that we want to make progress not litter,” Washington said. “That’s the emblem on back of all our vests. We’re also having signs made up to go all throughout the city as part of the anti-litter campaign.”
Washington said volunteers would likely focus on Watson Chapel or Dollarway during the next community cleanup at the end of September.
Washington’s office has also instituted a day of service to take place the second Saturday of each month. The next day of service will take place Saturday, Sept. 9 at Townsend Park. Washington said the service project would be removing rotted shingle roofs at five picnic pavilions in the park and replacing them with metal roofing.
Washington said the city would pay for the roofing materials, the cost of which has not yet been determined.