Tupelo Latter-day Saints rally for neighborhood beautification

TUPELO – Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among the dozens of Tupeloans set to help out during this year’s Great American Cleanup.
The national event, which runs March through May, is an opportunity for neighborhood people to take a hands-on role in beautifying their surroundings.
The “saints” of the Tupelo stake of the LDS Church have adopted the project as part of a regional national day of service.
“Christ spent his whole life serving, and we know that when we sacrifice our own needs for those of others we get a better perspective of the world and its people,” said Gina Thorderson, stake public affairs director,
On April 18 the Tupelo LDS will have help from colleagues in New Albany, Booneville and Hamilton, Ala. Their project will be to clean up outside the old milk plant, next to the smokestack on Carnation Street. That will include pruning, painting and picking up trash from illegal dumping, a general outdoor facelift.
Susan Gilbert, executive director of the Salvation Army, which occupies the land directly across the street from the plant said she’s enthusiastic about the cleanup.
“It’s badly needed,” said Gilbert, adding that the decrepit building has been troublesome for her organization.
According to Sherrie Cochran, environmental planner for the city, the building might one day serve as a studio space for area artists.
The LDS are no strangers to the cleanup. In years past they helped fix up the Tupelo Boys and Girls Club and in beautifying a park on Spring Street.
“They’ve been truly amazing. They’ve even brought family members from across the country to help,” said Cochran, who also serves as executive director of Keep Tupelo Beautiful, the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, which sponsors the cleanup. Tupelo, which has participated in Keep America Beautiful for 32 years, is one of 25 affiliates throughout Mississippi and 600 nationwide.
Cochran said other faith-based organizations, including groups associated with local Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches are also slated to pitch in during the three-month project.
The Carnation Street beautification won’t be the only activity that day. The Mill Village Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Main Street Association and the Neighborhood Association Youth Council are collaborating to walk the streets picking up trash. They’ll cover from Jefferson, south to Clark, and from Front, west to Green. At 12:30 the Spring Street park, officially named “Tupelo Creative Commons,” will be dedicated.
Other area projects during the Great American Cleanup will include “Household Hazardous Waste Day” at the Lee County Agri-Center, a beautification effort at the Haven Acres neighborhood, and “Tomato Day” all of which are scheduled for April 25.
Contact Daily Journal religion editor Galen Holley at 678-1510 or galen.holley@djournal.com

Galen Holley/Daily Journal