Velma Young Park Cleanup Effort

Meridian, Miss.
Mississippi Power teamed up with city officials, and representatives from the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi to spruce up Velma Young Park. As part of the effort, they planted plants and picked up trash Friday morning.

"At the heart of Mississippi Power we believe in service," says Verdell Hawkins, district manager for Mississippi Power. "Since 1925 we've been involved in economic development, and projects in the community; we just want to continue that. These are not only communities that we serve as a business, but our employees also live in these communities."

"I'm big on partnerships because I think for this community to be revitalized it will take more than just one," says City of Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Kelvin McGruder.

Over the years city leaders say the Velma Young area has been neglected, and that this effort by Mississippi Power is right in line with city efforts to help revitalize that area to how it was fifty plus years ago.

"They came to use the park; they would have multi-purpose rooms over here that they would dedicate to meetings and dedicate to doing things for the youth during the week, and on weekends," says Ward 2 Councilman Dustin Markham. "So historically, it has been a child- friendly, student-friendly, community-friendly park. And we need to get it back here to do some of the same things in 2014 that they did back then."

When it comes to projects of this nature, organizers say these type efforts directly benefit the people who use these facilities. However overall, they say it's important to remember that 'what benefits one, ultimately helps all'.

"We have to have a sense of community pride and initiative when it comes to doing things over here, so that we make sure that this park benefits everyone to its maximum ability," says Markham.

Thirty-two volunteers turned out for the cleanup effort Friday.

When temperatures get warmer, Mississippi Power employees plan to return to the park to paint the community center and pavilions that are there.