published Friday, September 7th, 2012

Cleaning day targets Chattanooga neighborhoods

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CLEAN UP CHATTANOOGA

• Volunteers will register at Miller Plaza starting at 8 a.m. and clean the city from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

• Volunteers may designate whether they want to clean the North Shore, Riverfront, City Center, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Martin Luther King Boulevard, Main Street, the Southside, Highland Park or Fort Wood.

• To sign up, email Jen Politano at jpolitano@cneinc.org or Tiffanie Robinson at trobinson@rivercitycompany.com, or visit Causeway.org and search for "Clean & Green."

Hundreds of Chattanoogans will give the Scenic City a good scrubbing Saturday morning.

Clean & Green program leaders anticipate as many as 750 volunteers will meet at Miller Plaza in the morning, then break off into groups to pick up trash, pressure wash sidewalks, plant trees and flowers and report vandalism in nine of the city's districts and neighborhoods.

But Abby Garrison, one of the program's directors, said the benefits stretch beyond giving the city a facelift.

"More important than that, it's getting people out of the house, meeting their neighbors, getting to know each other," she said. "When you get out of your car and just start walking, it's amazing how much more you notice about your city or where you are."

Garrison hopes the project will have ripple effects, leading to improved cleanliness across several neighborhoods.

"When you start cleaning up one or two houses or one or two blocks, it starts bleeding over," she said. "I don't know if people feel a bit of peer pressure to mow their own yard, or it's a pride-of-ownership thing, but it does work."

Garrison is director of strategic initiatives at the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise. Clean & Green has been run by downtown development group River City Co. for the past two years, and this is the first time CNE will partner with them.

"The last two Clean & Green events have been tremendous successes," said Kim White, president and chief executive officer of River City. "Having a partner like Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise allows us to expand the footprint and make an even bigger impact."

More than 400 volunteers had registered for the service day by Thursday afternoon. As long as the weather holds Saturday, organizers expect plenty of walk-ups, friends of volunteers and corporate groups to swell that number.

So far, Volkswagen, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Unum have committed some of the largest volunteer groups, officials said.

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