From the desk of the Mayor of Fountain Inn
Growing up, I always participated in my Boy Scout troop’s highway clean ups. Back then, we would work for a couple hours and get a mile or two done. We’d be fascinated at the trash people would throw out, and there was always a competition to see who found the most unique item – a TV, a bumper, or just a lot of trash in one area. A few bags later, we’d pack up and go to lunch with each other. A few days later, we’d be driving down that same road and still be proud of the work we had completed.
Today, I still participate in our Rotary Club’s quarterly highway clean up, and the City of Fountain Inn’s “44 Serve Day”, where community members go all over our city to pick up litter. But now – finding a TV isn’t uncommon, finding entire bags of household trash isn’t uncommon; and when we drive down the same road a few days later, it’s like our work never happened.
One of the many negative side effects of COVID-19 many of us have noticed is the increase in litter around our communities. With restaurants being closed a year ago, a huge increase in to-go orders, and folks spending more time in their cars instead of inside various buildings, littering has become a huge issue everywhere.
If you weren’t aware, Fountain Inn’s city limits actually go over the Laurens County line – we sit in both Greenville County, and in Laurens County. For the last few months, the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce has hosted virtual meetings with our County Mayors (Gray Court, Laurens, Clinton, and Fountain Inn), along with Laurens County Council Chairman, Brown Patterson. During one meeting, litter became a topic of discussion.
Laurens County Council had been thinking about beefing up their litter ordinance, which has been overdue for change. Within about five minutes of Chairman Patterson talking about this with us, we all chimed in that maybe we should all adopt the same, or very similar, ordinance in our cities to provide a cohesive litter law across our beautiful county.
That is now becoming a reality. By the end of June, every city in Laurens County, plus the County itself will have readings on and hopefully voted through a new litter ordinance.
Not only that, but all of us took things one step further and have put together a plan to create a Palmetto Pride affiliate in Laurens County – Keep Laurens Beautiful – with every city, the county, helping chip in to fund litter clean ups across the county throughout the year. Thank you especially goes to the Laurens County Chamber for being the “host” of this affiliate and yet another great partner.
I want to thank Laurens County Council, and Chairman Brown Patterson, for spearheading this county-wide collaboration, and my colleagues: Mayor McLean (Clinton) with support from the Interim City of Clinton Manager, Thomas Higgs, Mayor Senn (Laurens), Mayor Jones (Gray Court), and Amanda Munyan, President/CEO of the Laurens County Chamber. Thank you for teaming up to keep Laurens County beautiful.
Mayor GP McLeer■