UNION COUNTY — A clean-up event taking place in three local communities this weekend will not only have an environmental purpose but an economic development one as well.
The Union County Tourism Commission is sponsoring the “Union County Take Pride — Litter Pick-Up Day” on Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon.
Interim Union County Tourism Commission Director Curtiss Hunter said that the idea for the event grew out of conversations she’s had with Union County Development Board Executive Director Andrena Powell-Baker about making Union County more attractive to economic development.
“Andrena and I were talking about simple things that we can do as residents, as property owners to make our community more attractive to economic development because you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” Hunter said. “The first thing you see when you come into the county is the community, is our entryways and that’s what we’re going to be focusing on Saturday.”
Hunter said the towns of Jonesville, Lockhart, and Carlisle will be participating in the clean-up, adding that each town has already assembled teams of volunteers who will be picking up litter from along the roads in their areas.
Also assisting in the event is Palmetto Pride, the non-profit organization that works to fight litter and help beautify South Carolina. Hunter said the organization has donated gloves, trash bags, safety vests, and pickup sticks that the volunteers will use Saturday. She said the tourism commission will provide water and possibly some kind of energy drinks for the volunteers.
Hunter said the Union County Public Works Department has also donated supplies to the event. She said the county has also agreed to hold the trash it collects this week until after Saturday’s clean-up. Hunter said that the garbage collected by the volunteers will then be added to that collected by the county. She said the idea is to demonstrate to the public the size of the litter problem and the need for greater efforts to clean up the county and keep it clean.
In addition to the clean-up effort, Hunter said she hopes the commission can team with the national Keep America Beautiful organization in the future. She said that working with Keep America Beautiful would give the commission the opportunity to apply for grants to help plant grass and trees, further beautifying the county and increasing its attractiveness to economic development.
“This is an ongoing effort, because we are in competition globally for economic development,” Hunter said. “As a child, when we had company coming, my grandmother made sure that we were spot on. We’ve got to develop that same mindset as a society.”