I recently returned from a trip to my hometown of Delray Beach, Florida. While there, I decided to drive around some of the old areas in the hood where I hung out as a teenager. To my surprise, I became somewhat confused. If it had not been for the street signs, it seemed as if I was in a different town. All the yards had grass and were well kept. I saw no dirt yards or dirt driveways. All of the driveways were either concrete or asphalt, the homes were painted. I saw no yards with four or five non-operating, no current tagged vehicles. I saw no unkept vacant homes, no wild forest growing up in any yard, no stray animals, not one stray dog. I saw no trashy overgrown streets (think Kingsbury Drive or McCrays Mill Road). Not one street looked like our Broad Street. I asked my mother what did the city do to get everyone working to keep the city beautiful. She said a few years ago the city started an aggressive program to enforce the city codes that were already on the books. They forced everyone to get in compliance or pay a fine. The city is so beautiful. You cannot tell when you are leaving the white neighborhood and entering the black neighborhood.
I get back to Sumter and its trash, trash and more trash. Forests growing in yards, both black and white neighborhoods. I am glad I live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association. I have learned people are people; trashy areas plague both. Rules and fines that are enforced are what make those who don't want to, want to be clean.
It is going to take a concentrated effort on the behalf of our city leaders to force people (black and white) to take care of this city. I would encourage all of our city leaders to take a trip to Delray Beach, Florida, and get a few points on getting everyone involved in the cleanup effort.
And to Ms. Mckenzie who was fined for letting her teenage grandsons trash the area, if it was me, no it would not have been me because if those were my kids, I would have shut them down and made them clean up their area and let them know just because we live in the hood, we do not live in a trash can. I would not ask them who threw the paper on the ground but make them clean it up.
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