Meridian, Miss. Meridian is just a little more beautiful today thanks to a few citizens who are willing to dirty their hands to clean the city up. Council members and citizens were out in full force to tackle some of the vacant lots that have become eyesores for the community. Seeing a need, Councilman Randy Hammon launched this cleanup initiative this year, and now a group of volunteers meets every two weeks to gradually improve the city.
"This is something you can do. There's a lot of people that say, 'Well, there's nothing we can do.' Yeah, sure there is. There's always something you can do to clean this city up," Hammon says.
The crew worked along 35th Avenue, with council members working outside their individual wards. But they say this is an effort to help all of Meridian, and not just their designated areas.
"It's really about making our city the best it can be, working together to make us stronger. It's going to take that, looking beyond the lines that separate us," Councilwoman Kim Houston says.
This is the second meeting for the volunteer group, but they say they're already seeing growth.
Councilman Hammon says last quarter there were 160 abandoned homes in process and 380 vacant lots just like this one, which is why he says this is a project that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
The idea is that a cleaner community is a benefit to those who reside there, as well as a boost to any other people or businesses that are looking at the queen city as a potential new home.
"That does a lot for the mental and physical well-being of the citizens who are living in these communities and a lot for the individuals who come in wanting to find jobs here," Councilman Dustin Markham explains.
Markham, along with the other volunteers, say the greatest feeling is seeing what you've accomplished at the end of your work.
"It just takes so little effort for each of us to do so little, and we just get so much done," volunteer Amos Jones explains.
If you would like to participate in a community cleanup, you can visit the Clerk of Council on the third floor of Meridian City Hall during business hours.