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What we think: Clean-up concept wipes us out

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By The Staff

The handwriting is on the wall, and we think one of our organizations has an idea that just might provide the eraser.

We’re talking about the problem with graffiti – and trashy areas, in general – in Shelby County.

Shelby Prevention can’t necessarily prevent the problem, but the organization certainly can try to generate an effort to wipe it out. And that’s what it plans to do.

Executive Director Elizabeth Lafferty describes a new program that works much like sponsored highway clean-up efforts you likely have seen.

An individual, group or organization “adopts” an area and commits to keeping it clean, with a competition to see which one does the best job.

As Shelby Prevention proved in its example-setting community workday earlier this month, there is a need to address a problem that befouls the quality of life for all of us.

All that is needed is your time, your will and a good bit of your good, old-fashioned elbow grease, something that always has appeared to be in abundance in Shelby County.

In fact, we believe Shelby Countians have more per capita commitment to their community than any group we know.

There are so many civic organizations watching out for all of us that we are amazed continually about the generosity and charity – and not just with money.

If we could quantify and package into a commodity the donated time, voice, personal fervor and sweat equity, we could provide Shelby a bigger economic boost than, say, building a bunch of Harley-Davidsons. That’s how much power we have. The sum of our parts is much greater than our whole.

Shelby Prevention’s new contribution to that public pride may not be as sexy as a Harley, but we can make it get up and go.

Graffiti is a self-perpetuating blight. It never quite goes away, but a guerrilla assault of power cleaning and paint can help neutralize it.

Trash in public areas and unsightliness in general can be handled with nothing more than effort.

So we challenge each of you and your organizations to join forces in this effort.

We challenge you to contact Shelby Prevention and flip your hat in the ring – and then retrieve it, of course, lest it become an eyesore – and get with this program.

Ms. Lafferty appropriately points out that graffiti and trash “affect property values and attract crime.”

To remove them helps improve those areas, but it also improves our feeling about our community and ourselves.

And those are the sorts of things we definitely never want to erase.