Preparations by The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, the Oconee Economic Alliance, the Keep Oconee Beautiful Association and the School District of Oconee County are continuing this week in earnest for The Great Oconee Clean Up on Saturday, April 22nd.
Besides the goal of continuing to raise awareness of the litter issue and its effects on Oconee County, the main focus of the event will be to clean up a portion of a major road in Oconee County which thousands of motorists travel every single day.
Organizers and volunteers hope to remove trash that day from a five mile section of Highway 123 between the Oconee/Pickens line near Clemson to the East End Intersection area of Highway 123 at Highway 130 in Seneca.
The section of highway that is designated for the clean-up is not lost on the Oconee Economic Alliance or the person who heads the Destination Oconee program as she seeks to promote Oconee County in a positive light.
“I am very excited that this is the entryway we have chosen for the cleanup,” according to Janet Hartman with the Alliance. “My charge is the Destination Oconee program and we want to make sure that we show pride in where we live and how we represent ourselves to folks who come here, and those who live here as well, in taking a personal interest.”
“Even more so with our Think Oconee program, it is how we think positively when we think of Oconee and promoting what is going on in Oconee County,” continues Janet Hartman. “In addition to changing the mindset about spending money and time locally, it is also changing the mindsets to recognize that this is our county and we can all make a difference and have an impact in what we do individually. Plus, along with our new gateway signage, this is a perfect opportunity to improve the area we are going to cleanup.”
Besides affecting the immense natural beauty and abundant resources here in the county, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw says that litter could also have an effect in regards to the location of companies and businesses who desire to bring jobs to the area.
“When someone is looking at bringing an industry here or jobs to Oconee County, if they come here and see litter everywhere, first impressions are important,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “We have to think about what effect that has.”
The event, which will be held on Earth Day, will begin at 8:15 with registration in the parking lot of NewSpring Church, which is located just off Highway 123 near Highway 93 just outside of Clemson. The litter pickup portion of the event will begin at 9am and last until Noon. Free parking in the parking lot of NewSpring church will be provided and transportation to the litter pickup locations will be provided by six activity buses from the School District of Oconee County that will be running throughout the event.
Citizens can register the day of the event but individuals are encouraged to pre-register by going to www.investoconeesc.com/upcoming-events/ or by clicking on The Great Oconee Clean Up link at www.oconeelaw.com. Those who are participating in the litter pickup must sign a release form before they can participate. Those picking up litter will also be provided a reflective vest and gloves and/or a grabber.
The first 200 registrants will receive a free t-shirts. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
The activity buses providing transportation will drop individuals off at half-mile intervals and a law enforcement officer will be on each bus to provide safety information before the actual pickup work begins in order to warn volunteers on litter that could dangerous to handle, such as hypodermic needles and shake and bake meth labs. The Sheriff’s Office and the Highway Patrol will also provide traffic control for the event. The buses will also bring those who volunteer back to the parking lot of NewSpring Church after the event is over.
Any questions concerning The Great Oconee Clean Up can be directed to Leanne Cooper with Oconee Economic Alliance at 864-638-4210 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.