Oct. 21, marked, “Be A Good Neighbor Day” for many Mercer University students. I coordinated a “Clean up and blight removal event” for a selected area of the Pleasant Hill Historic District. Early that Saturday morning, carloads of approximately 25 Mercer volunteers pulled up ready to “give back.”
They picked up trash along sides of the roads and wooded areas. They were expecting to toss vehicle tires, old screened and wooden doors, broken chairs, mattresses and other household items littering a residential community but Macon-Bibb did not deliver the dumpster as scheduled. No call to alert me the dumpster that, on the evening before, was still confirmed, would not arrive. No attempt to inquire if it could be delivered some place different than where we planned weeks prior. Nothing.
Because Pat Raines with the Macon Bibb County Solid Waste Department and Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Bert Bivins never do anything in this Pleasant Hill community that they should, all those unsightly items remain. In a two-year span, Raines has never even returned a call about a trash problem. Bivins says it’s going to take time (finally responding after six months of calling and writing him). Yes, it will always take time and more money when you are busy making sure the mayor’s agenda is met in favored communities.
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Mercer and I, each, donated and used our trash bags, plastic gloves and bottled water for this event. I even used my personal trash grabber. I had 10 trash bags from Keep Macon Bibb Beautiful. We collected 25 bags of trash. Mercer hauled away 13 bags and I took care of the remainder. I took many before-and-after photos.
One final thanks goes to a gentleman outside of Bibb who answered my call to clear an unsightly area that Bivins said would take time (two years ago). Well, 30 years is long enough. The volunteers did not even know there was a structure behind all the growth. God bless Darrell Moore and the students who said they would come do more!
Pleasant Hill continues to be slighted. I will not deny there are changes underway, but the changes are not designed for those currently residing in the community. There is gentrification in progress for another population down the not-too-distant road. All the pieces have been coming together for quite a while to connect mid-town, downtown and north Macon. All this connecting is happening while smiles and promises of parks are designed to distract from the true agenda.
In the meantime, Macon-Bibb sees no need to spend any time or money cleaning up an area that will, in due time, be wiped out, at least, as it is currently known.
Carol L. Stokes Esq., is a resident of Macon.