A sign touting a neighborhood clean-up project in the Avondale community was burned some time during the night Monday night.
Doris Smith, who moved to Avondale in 1986, has been working to set up a neighborhood watch program and a neighborhood clean-up program since late last year. The 80-year-old resident organized the first clean-up in more than 20 years in the Avondale community last month and hoped to continue the event every month, with the May even being held this Saturday, May 18. So she spent about $70 of her own money and had a couple of signs made to let all her neighbors know about the event.
“We’re just getting into this thing and we’re going to get it built up,” Smith said of the new endeavor. “A lot of people in the community are out cleaning up their yards. I think the people here are really enjoying it.”
All but at least one resident is enjoying the new initiative, that is. At about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, Smith went to check on her signs. To her dismay, she found the one she placed on the corner of E Durst Avenue and Lawton Street burned.
“I’m not sure why someone would want to do something like that,” Smith said. “I just hope they know it will take more than that to stop me.”
Avondale is the newest participant in the Great American Clean-up for Greenwood County, facilitated locally by Healthy Greenwood Neighborhoods, Inc. The nationwide initiative encourages members of a community to clean up their neighborhoods in an effort to make their community a more appealing place to live. Smith has been working with Toni Able of HGN on the project and is incorporating the clean-up with a neighborhood watch program.
Avondale was the site of a large drug bust in December where agents with the Greenwood County Drug Enforcement Unit caught two men in possession of about four pounds of marijuana, 100 grams of hash and about 60 psychedelic mushrooms. One of the two men was arrested again last week with nearly a pound of marijuana in the trunk of his car.
The “broken windows” theory suggests that crime in a neighborhood is tied directly to the appearance of the neighborhood. A trashy, run-down neighborhood will produce more crime than a clean, aesthetically pleasing neighborhood. A recent study at the University of Pennsylvania supports that theory. Researchers compared crime rates in a neighborhood before and after a large clean-up project was launched and discovered that crime rates were lower after the neighborhood was cleaned up.
A cleaner, safer neighborhood is exactly what Smith desires for her community, which is why she has taken the lead in organizing these important initiatives in her community. Members of the Avondale community are invited to an informational meeting at Smith’s residence, located at 127 Lawton St., on Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. to discuss this Saturday’s clean-up project and the neighborhood watch program. For more information on starting either one of these initiatives in your community, contact Healthy Greenwood Neighborhoods, Inc. at 864-941-3370.