Clean-up effort tentatively planned at bridge on Sones Chapel Road

Published 5:31 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Judy Steckler, director of the Land Trust of the Mississippi Coastal Plain, and Janet Chapman of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, joined county officials and citizens in Poplarville on Monday to discuss a possible clean-up effort to be held at the bridge over Hobolochitto Creek on Sones Chapel Road later this year.

Libby McCraney, a member of Sones Chapel Baptist Church, said her church and North Spoon Baptist Church both use Boley Creek under the bridge as a place for baptisms and a clean-up is very much needed.

“You wouldn’t believe the trash or graffiti under that bridge. It needs to be cleaned up and the graffiti needs to be painted over,” McCraney said.

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County Road Manager Mike Mitchell said he would ask the sheriff’s department for a prisoner crew to paint over the graffiti on the bridge and the county trash crews could be used to get the trash from the bridge to the dump.

“(Sones Chapel Road) is a state-aid road, so we will need to get with Les Dungan to help us talk to the state aid guys about painting the bridge, but that shouldn’t be a problem,” Mitchell said.

District II Supervisor Charles Culpepper said once the area around the bridge is cleaned, he thinks a gate should be put up to help deter vandals and litterbugs. He also said he would ask the sheriff’s department for a deputy to direct traffic the day of the clean-up.

Julia Anderson, vice-president of the board of directors for the Land Trust, said the clean-up effort is to be the first of several, which she hopes will become an annual event.

“We eventually hope to have a clean-up day where we put canoes in the Boley Creek up near White Sand and take them out either at Sones Chapel or somewhere further down and use the canoes in the clean-up effort. We’d like to make this a really big annual event,” Anderson said.

Steckler asked Anderson to look at the creek beneath the bridge and determine how large an area can be cleaned during the allotted time.

McCraney said she believed the area directly under the bridge would take a long time to clean up, but that clean-up was also needed up and down stream from the bridge.

McCraney said volunteers on the clean-up day would include youth groups from Sones Chapel and North Spoon Baptist Churches, and possibly a youth group from Serenity Baptist Church.

Ann Bosworth, Special Services coordinator at the Poplarville High School Career Development Center, said she has a high school group of around 10 students that is also willing to volunteer.

Steckler said she hoped to find a restaurant or civic group that would be willing to provide lunchtime refreshments such as hamburgers and hot dogs for the volunteers after the clean-up.

The group set Saturday, May 3, as a tentative day for the clean-up, with an alternate of Saturday, May 17, in case of bad weather. Steckler said she is hoping for at least two to three hours of work, starting around 9 a.m. and finishing between 11 a.m. and noon.