Editorial: Time again to get out and clean up

OK, Lake Charles, it’s show time. On Tuesday, May 7, judges will be in town for the state-level judging of the Cleanest City

Contest, and we encourage everyone to tidy up their little corner of the world this weekend to impress them.

Lake Charles will be competing at

the state level against other cities with populations of 45,000-100,000

in the Cleanest

City Contest, which began in 1958 as a litter-prevention program

sponsored by the Louisiana Garden Club Federation. Earlier

this year, the Lake Charles Garden Club and the Diggers and

Weeders Garden Club of Lake Charles entered the city in the district

level competition. The city won that, and has moved up to round

two — the state competition on Tuesday.

Winning is a strong possibility. Lake Charles placed first in last year’s contest.

And according to Lollion Elmer, who sits on the Greater Lake Charles Beautification Committee, a clean-city win offers more

than just a reason to pat ourselves on the back.

“There is a connection between a clean area and economic development,” she said.

Below are the 10 things listed for consideration by judges on the Cleanest City Contest score sheet. The maximum number of

points possible for each item follows its listing. If a city is awarded the maximum in each category, that city would earn

a perfect total score of 100 points.

1. Approaches within the city limits. (8 points).

2. Public and/or municipal buildings (schools, churches, hospitals, libraries, fire stations, nursing homes, etc.). (10 points).

3. Parks and recreation areas and cemeteries. (12 points).

4. Business establishments. (10 points).

5. Residential areas. (10 points).

6. Streets, sidewalks, posts and neutral grounds. (13 points).

7. Vacant lots. (10 points).

8. Community involvement (evidence that scouts, service clubs, schools and other groups have participated in beautification

and cleanup efforts. (10 points).

9.

Judging of a scrapbook that contains before and after photos that show a

city’s progress in the area of cleanliness and beautification.

(7 points).

10. Overall impression of cleanliness. (10 points).

Given that, here are some things you can do:

Mow your lawn.

Remove weeds growing in broken cracks. In fact, remove weeds growing anywhere.

Pick up cigarette butts. If you smoke, dispose of the butts properly. Don’t stamp them out on the ground.

Plant some flowers.

Edge around your sidewalk.

Make sure posts and fences are free of weeds and litter.

Don’t empty trash from your car into a business parking lot.

Don’t litter, period. Curbing litter is the reason the contest was begun in the first place over a half-century ago.

A clean city is a definite plus when it comes to attracting businesses that are in the process of deciding where to locate.

Let’s give our city an economic and aesthetic edge by making and keeping it beautiful.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.