March 12, 2014 Edition

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Lesa Walter (right) passes some garbage she picked up along the Rails-to-Trails walking and biking trail to Diane Midkiff. The two were among 30 volunteers who assisted with a Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Community Revitalization and Beautification Day of Service on March 1.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Chamber effort starts
with rail-trail cleanup

Gretchen Hunt

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce's Community Revitalization and Beautification Committee held its first Day of Service on March 1.

The task of cleaning up the six-mile Rails-to-Trails walking and biking path was taken on by 30 volunteers, and according to Chamber Board Chair Fran Cavenaugh, the results were amazing.

"The support was outstanding," Cavenaugh said. "Both the workers and those who gave us supplies and vehicles to use. This was a great start to our community revitalization and beautification project."

Those who donated supplies included Castino, Cavenaugh Chevrolet, Hoxie Church of Christ and Walmart. Downum's Waste Disposal hauled the garbage and items collected away at no charge.

In addition, Art and Culture offered coupons for free frozen yogurt to those who volunteered.

Cavenaugh said several individuals also helped by providing equipment including Gary Salard, Tom Reynolds and John Thomison, who provided ATVs. Charles and Jackie Snapp provided use of a trailer, and the county provided a truck and trailer, as well as three prisoners who assisted with the project.

"Nearly 100 man hours were put in on Saturday on the trail, but there is still more work to be done, and constant upkeep is needed," Cavenaugh said. "We are hoping that groups and businesses will adopt sections of the trail so that it can be maintained and improved upon."

The committee hopes to have a Day of Service on a regular basis, and plans to put some focus on the downtown Walnut Ridge area in preparation for the Beatles at the Ridge festival in September, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles landing at the Walnut Ridge Airport.

Dina Hufstedler, who chairs the CRB Committee, said she was encouraged by the response for the first project and looks forward to future projects.

"This first day of service was a huge success, but it wouldn't have been possible without the help of so many, including the 30 volunteers who came out to work, the individuals who loaned equipment for us to use, and the businesses that donated supplies and other services. It was great to see such pride in the community, and I appreciate all who contributed to this effort."

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