BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Blytheville residents are cleaning up their neighborhoods in an effort to restore community pride and deter crime.
In September, hundreds worked to clean up six blocks of neighborhoods on the west end of the city, and now organizers are expecting thousands to take part in the second initiative.
First term city councilman Stan Parks organized the project. "It seemed like people had lost hope," he said. When I was campaigning in the fall I said that we needed to have more community involvement."
The councilman worked with the Blytheville Police Department, local businesses and more than 40 area churches to develop a strategic plan to clean the areas near Vine, Sycamore, Walker and Holland streets.
Blytheville resident Margaret Christian has lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years. She said the overhaul was long overdue. "That's the biggest blessing that's ever happened to us," she said. "We've seen yards, sidewalks and alleys we hadn't seen in years."
Councilman Parks said the hidden alleys and abandoned houses are havens for thieves and insect nests. "The disease control the city has contracted with here, they are able to go through these alleys in the evenings and spray for mosquitos."
Saturday cleanup crews will meet at 8 a.m. at Williams Park to clear brush and remove blight on the east end.