Cleanup for North Columbia set for Aug. 9

cclick@thestate.com July 3, 2008 

The city of Columbia has declared Aug. 9 cleanup day for North Columbia.

Mayor Bob Coble said the city, working in conjunction with what he hopes will be an army of community volunteers, will mobilize its city crews and heavy equipment throughout that day.

Henry Hopkins, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Council, has pledged his support and is asking neighborhood associations, congregations and youth programs to join in.

‘I especially want the youth involved,” he said.

City Councilman Sam Davis, who represents North Columbia, said he hoped abandoned and overgrown vacant properties would be targeted.

“I am adamant about those people who have neglected their own property,” he said. “We’ll find them.”

The city hopes to match the 10 tons of trash collected at Martin Luther King Park and the surrounding community in 2006.

Last year, the city targeted the historic Waverly community, “but the trash wasn’t as massive” as the tonnage swept up in the 2006 cleanup, said Roland Smallwood, the city’s community liaison.

More than 1,000 trucks were mobilized for that cleanup. But Smallwood said that even before Aug. 9, the city will head out into the community to paint curbs, check for code violations and examine vacant lots and buildings that need attention.

“There will be a lot of things that go on before the actual day,” he said. “By the time we go in there, we will know what the issues are in the main targeted areas.”

The cleanup project will be held four days after National Night Out, another effort to strengthen communities by asking neighbors to keep their lights on.

“It is the one night that citizens can come together and say to themselves: ‘We are not going to be afraid. We are not going to let the crooks run us out of our neighborhoods,’” Smallwood said.

Reach Click at (803) 771-8386.

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