Volunteers Pitch In To Beautify Fort Smith

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Hundreds of volunteers from schools, churches and community groups volunteered to pick up litter around Fort Smith Saturday. Paula Linder, co-chair of the group Beautify Fort Smith, says she wants her city to be beautiful.

"This is a reflection of us," said Linder. "This is who we are."

Linder says well-traveled, non-residential areas of the city tend to attract more litter. She says the interchanges near the interstates are particularly littered.

"Drive-thru windows are the public enemy," says Linder. "Styrofoam is terrible because it will not disintegrate. It's there forever."

She says tossed cigarette butts are also a major problem in Fort Smith.

The Arkansas Canoe Club was one of many groups to participate in the clean-up. Members focused their efforts on the riverfront by Carol Ann Cross Park.

"The river has a way of collecting trash as it's coming down so you have to do you part," said club member Bob Robinson. "If everybody along the river picks up their trash, it won't go down to the next place, and if the people upstream would pick up their trash, we might not have this trash here."

Volunteers with Beautify Fort Smith collected more than four tons of trash at their spring and fall community-wide clean-up events in 2012. Shael McDonald with the group says residents can do their part throughout the year.

"If you take a walk in the evening, grab a trash bag, grab a little grocery bag and pick some (litter) up," said McDonald.

McDonald said she was encouraged by Saturday's turnout, and she's confident her community can make a difference.

"I have faith in Fort Smith, and it just increases my faith even more," she said. "Fort Smith residents really do care, and care about their surroundings and their neighbors and their community, and it's just really nice to see."