Agreeing with Lee, Mayor Shirley Washington said the city would help coordinate the requested dumpster Lee asked for but pointed out the commitment to maintain a clean neighborhood had to come from the people.

Where there is trash, there is disorder. Where there is disorder, our children, families, and businesses cannot thrive.

That’s how some residents who live on the north end of Pine Bluff feel because they are fed up with the trash that diminishes their efforts to improve their surroundings.

Traveling down Magnolia Street and circling around down Hill Avenue, the scenic route is somewhat of an eyesore that neighbors say they are tired of looking at.

Wanda Pugh has lived on Hill Avenue for 28 years. For the past few days this week Pugh has been dedicating her mornings to digging out the ditches in her neighborhood.

“My mother was raised back here and her siblings so I always have kept Hill Street up because I don’t like filth,” said Pugh. “It’s important for us to keep our neighborhood up.”

Pugh’s father, Norman Pugh, worked for the City of Pine Bluff for several years until he passed away according to Wanda Pugh, who added her dad played a huge part in the cleanliness of the neighborhood.

“My dad would just go around and cut the grass,” said Pugh. “My parents instilled cleaning in me. We might have had a raggedy house but I guarantee when you came in there it was clean, even around the house.”

Now as neighborhood generations have died out, vacancies have become the norm with many homes having been abandoned for over 15 years.

An older gentleman who was seen dumping furniture near Magnolia St. for the city to come and pick up said there are many areas that still need attention.

“There are burnt vacant houses that have just been sitting here for years,” he said while cleaning out his own abandoned house. “Most of the overseers of these homes live out of state and they don’t care. These homes may have belonged to their parents who passed away and now they are just abandoned.”

He asked to remain anonymous as he pointed out the unkempt properties that surrounded the area.

“With all this COVID stuff going on, it’s just not sanitary over here,” he said. “Seeing is believing and when you drive around you will see trash buildup- -a sign of a decaying community.”

Back on Hill Avenue, Pugh has the same concern about the abandoned homes.

“When you don’t put nobody in a house and it’s been empty for years, it needs to be torn down,” she said as she raked leaves and trash out the ditch. “The city used to come back here every year to clean the ditches. This used to be a flooded area with a manhole but the weeds have grown up over it.”

Pugh said it’s been a few years since the city has attended to her neighborhood so she has started back cleaning out the ditches after taking 5 years off due to getting sick. Old firework paper could be seen along the side of the street that she had piled together.

“Everybody should be responsible for everything that’s in front of their house,” said Pugh who admits the neighborhood used to be worse off. “It used to be terrible back here back in the day. It’s a little bit clean but if we don’t start getting a hold to it, it’s going to get right back like it used to be.”

Sunday, everyone will have a chance to lend a helping hand as community organizer, Patty Lee has orchestrated a community cleanup day, starting at 6 a.m.

Focusing on the north end of town first, Lee said she would like to collaborate with other areas of the city to spark a city-wide neighborhood cleanup.

Lee’s focus on the north end is prevalent as refrigerators, trash and even wood are harboring in the ditches according to Lee. Lee said water is not draining properly because of those items need to be removed.

“People are coming on that side of town and dumping. We have started cleaning up but we are trying to get some help,” said Lee. “We are behind the college, that’s the main place behind the University. All that needs to be cleaned.”

Lee addressed the Pine Bluff City Council on Tuesday with her concerns, reaching out to anyone to join her in her efforts.

“I can’t do it by myself. I need some help,” said Lee to the council.

Agreeing with Lee, Mayor Shirley Washington said the city would help coordinate the requested dumpster Lee asked for but pointed out the commitment to maintain a clean neighborhood had to come from the people.

“We will help you,” said Washington along with other council members who agreed to pitch in. “We’ve had so many cleanups. We have to find some way to instill some pride in our people because we can clean up Sunday and have everything spotless and a week later it’s right back there.”

Until Sunday comes, Pugh said because she is tired of the negativity she hears about the upkeep of her neighborhood, she will do all she can to maintain a clean neighborhood, even though some receive her neighborhood as less desirable.

“I was raised up poor,” said Pugh. “My parents always instilled in us just because you were raised up poor, that doesn’t mean you got to look like you're poor so I take pride and try to do whatever I can.”