August 3, 2009 9:59:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- This month, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership wants each city dweller to beautify his or her corner of the world.
The organization''s sixth annual Get Swept Up campaign will come to a head Wednesday, Sept. 2, when more than 500 Starkville residents and workers will hit the streets with trash bags and gloves to pick up garbage. The first 500 volunteers will also receive commemorative T-shirts.
The following Saturday, Sept. 5, guests will pour in to the city for Mississippi State University''s first home football game, and by then, the GSDP hopes, Starkville will look its best.
The celebrity spokesman for this year''s campaign, MSU Director of Athletics Greg Byrne, mentioned the city''s clean-up efforts in his column this week on mstateathletics.com. "I hope you will take notice when you come to town on Saturday the 5th," he wrote.
Libby Gerald, Get Swept Up''s coordinator and co-chair of the GSDP''s community appearance committee, said the campaign was originally developed "to raise awareness of the litter problem" in the city.
"You get used to the way things look every day," she said. The campaign, and the one-day event in particular, gets residents and workers thinking like visitors, she said.
"I think just to show pride in our community, we want to put our best face forward," said Gerald, a Realtor at Prudential Starkville Properties.
What''s more, she said, "I think it''s a deterrent to crime when a community is well-maintained and clean."
And, she added, "I definitely think it enhances the curb appeal of the community, and that helps in real-estate sales."
The GSDP is still looking for sponsors, to pay for the commemorative T-shirts, as well as volunteers, said Allison Matthews, the organization''s vice president of membership and community development.