He can tell you to the number the tons of trash that local residents have cleaned up along our city’s streets over the past three years. That would be 62. He can tell you the number of miles — 257 — the volunteers (that would be 5,116) have walked in their endeavour to make our city more beautiful.
Hurst knows these numbers because making Fayetteville a cleaner and more attractive community is something of a passion of his. And on Saturday, April 17, he’s asking local residents to share that passion and join him for the 6th Annual Citywide Cleanup.
The event kicks-off with a rally at 9 a.m. at the entrance to the Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway on Ramsey Street.
“It’s going to be a great day,” said Hurst. “We hope to draw even more volunteers in and clean even more of our city up.”
On average, more than 1,000 citizens participate in the annual cleanup. For Hurst, that speaks volumes about the community’s stance on litter. “If volunteers do the cleanup, then they take ownership of our community and they have more of a desire to keep it clean. Studies have shown when that happens in a community, as it has and is happening in Fayetteville, then suddenly there is a lot less litter. If we can get more citizens to care about the environment, then they will take care of it.”
Hurst’s message has gotten through in a big way to the community and local leaders. On April 12, the city will be designated an afﬁ liate of Keep America Beautiful. The national organization has 1,200 afﬁ liates nationwide. The Fayetteville Beautiful Committee’s association with Keep America Beautiful will open doors for grants and other educational opportunities concerning litter abatement for the community.
“They have a wonderful education program that will work great with our community’s children,” said Hurst. “They have also created a measurement tool that is essential to identify and understand the extent of the litter problems in Fayetteville. The Litter Index will be our way to focus causes and solutions to areas throughout the city.”
Unlike the majority of afﬁ liates, the Fayetteville program will be manned entirely by volunteers. Hurst noted that statistically for every volunteer hour put into a community, tax payers save $20.25 per hour. If you consider that 1,000 volunteers will be on the job for more than three hours on April 17, the community is getting quite a deal.
“This year, for the ﬁ rst time, the parks and recreation department is mapping out where our volunteers will work,” said Hurst. “So in this way, we are getting some support from the local governments.”
Hurst said that volunteers are still needed, and can register to participate by calling Lynne Huges at 433-1587. He said volunteers come from all walks of life and may come in a large group, like a church group, or in family units.He is excited that this year participation in the cleanup is endorsed by the Cumberland County Schools. “Dr. Frank Till is very supportive of the project and is encouraging schools to participate,” said Hurst. “So I think we will do pretty well with our volunteers.
For more information, visit the Web site at www.fayettevillebeautiful.com.