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|Moore calls for police jury to act on litter problem|
No matter how often litter abatement organizations and volunteers hit the streets to pick up trash throughout Ouachita Parish, it's not long before there's just as much or more litter scattered along the roads.
The litter issue has been the subject of numerous discussions during Ouachita Parish Police Jury meetings as well as at other meetings of local governmental bodies.
The litter issue became the focus of many public officials after a March 2007 visit by Mark Sweeney of Atlanta's Competitive Strategies Group, who said his trip to Ouachita Parish was "one of the trashier visits I've had in all of my visits."
He told public officials that litter has a big impact on economic development since major businesses and other industrial prospects won't locate in an area they consider trashy.
Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful Board representatives approached the police jury recently and requested the jury allow them to use money from the sale of Glenwood Regional Medical Center to seek grants for litter abatement projects.
While no action has been taken on the request, police jurors say something must be done to address the litter problems throughout the parish.
Jurors Mack Calhoun and Dorth Blade have both said the public needs to be educated about the litter issue. Calhoun has said litter awareness could be taught in schools to inform students about the importance of keeping the parish clean.
During Monday's regular meeting of the police jury, juror Pat Moore said it was time for parish leaders to meet with others in the community to come up with a plan to address the litter problem.
"I'm very concerned about litter and the upkeep of property in south Monroe, but this is not just a south Monroe problem, it's a parish-wide problem," Moore said.
She said volunteers recently collected tons of trash, including furniture and other household items scattered along roads in southern Ouachita Parish.
Nutland Road off La. 15 is notorious for having bed mattresses and other large items thrown out on the side of the road. The same can be found along certain roads in other segments of the parish on any given day.
"We picked up all this trash in Garden Park, and it's now a problem again," Moore said. "After just a few weeks, we're back where we started."
She says police jury representatives must meet with other local governmental bodies, churches, organizations, schools, businesses and groups such as Keep Ouachita Beautiful to develop an initiative to rid the parish of the litter problem.
"We've got to do something," Moore said. "We can't have code enforcement keep going out there because it's just a cycle."
"We've got to meet with these groups, come up with a plan, and then we've got to put some tough teeth in the law and enforce what's on the books," she added.
Moore said she would have more details about a course of action to present to the police jury during its first meeting in May, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 5.