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Lake Charles preps for cleanest city contest

Last Modified: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:23 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

A team of judges will travel throughout Lake Charles on Tuesday to determine if the city is the cleanest in the state.

Lollion Elmer, who sits on the Greater Lake Charles Beautification Committee, said the Cleanest City Contest judges will check for litter and lawns that are mowed and well-kept.

“They are going to be all over town,” Elmer said. “We want the city to be impeccably clean as possible.”

Lake Charles won first place in last year’s contest after competing against cities with a population between 45,000 and 100,000. Elmer said the cities are becoming more competitive each year.

“Last year, we had three less pieces of litter than Alexandria,” she said.

One major problem, Elmer said, is people dumping trash from their vehicles onto business parking lots.

“We have to try and educate others to dispose of their litter properly,” she said. “I saw dirty diapers in parking lots. People feel like they can clean out their cars there.”

Elmer said she also sees plenty of cigarette butts on the ground, along with litter that flies out the beds of moving pickup trucks.

“Those cigarette butts don’t deteriorate like other items,” she said. “Sometimes, people do things without thinking. It’s our job to make them aware and educate them.”

Elmer said homeowners and business owners are encouraged to not only mow, but manicure their lawns to impress the judges.

“Judges look for things like grass growing out of the cracks of the concrete,” she said. “Planting flowers also helps.”

In addition to giving Lake Charles a competitive edge, Elmer said a cleaner city is a plus for new businesses deciding where to locate.

“There is a connection between a clean area and economic development,” she said. “With the influx of people we anticipate, we would like them to come in and find a clean Lake Charles.”

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