‘Clean Our Scene” grows into ‘Time to Shine’

Published 10:44 pm Saturday, August 11, 2012

By The (Biloxi) Sun Herald:

What began as a limited effort to spruce up the Coast this spring has expanded into a comprehensive program to bring as many resources together as possible to make the Coast shine all the time.

“Clean Our Scene” has moved on to become “Time to Shine” under the direction of a committee chaired by Bridgette Varone. Varone’s full-time job is director of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association. But as a member of the Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership’s board of directors, Varone is working with others to maintain and expand the success of “Clean Our Scene.”

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Varone and the Partnership want to help create “a unified effort along the coast” to rid the area of litter and trash and eyesores.

“It’s disgusting,” Varone says of areas of the coast littered with trash. “We weren’t raised like that. It’s the most basic of life lessons: Pick up after yourself.”

“Time to Shine” wants to encourage partnerships all along the coast — within and between the private and public sectors — to make and keep the region as beautiful as nature intended.

Much of the machinery is in place. We already have garden clubs and beautification commissions. We already have laws on the books punishing those who trash the property of others — including the public’s — or who fail to maintain their own properties. We have crews of inmates and groups of civic volunteers who walk the shoulders of roads and the sidewalks of streets picking up litter and trash.

What we lack, and what “Time to Shine” is trying to achieve, is the coordination of those efforts and a greater commitment to them. If that can be accomplished, and if it can get enough momentum behind it, the results ought to prove that we don’t have to live with litter and trash and eyesores. …

According to Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King, the state Department of Transportation has a variety of programs and options for local communities to use to improve their appearance. Some require local funding from private businesses and individuals. But such investments could get the rights of way of our highways mowed more often and would pay ample dividends to our tourism industry.

Plus there is the priceless pride we ourselves would take in our surroundings.