St. Joseph’s appearance is concerning, and residents say the problem is a lack of pride.
The appearance of the city even became a topic of discussion at council meetings. In fact, an anti-waste committee is creating a campaign.
“The problem is city wide,” said Terry Turback, chair of the anti-waste campaign. “It’s everywhere we look. It’s in every neighborhood, it’s in every aspect of the city, whether it’s the parks system, the neighborhood system, the commercial system.
The problem can be as small as a wrap of gum on the side of the road. But this waste ends up accumulating. In no time, he is joined by a few Styrofoam cups, packs of cigarettes and a few cans of beer.
“What I hope to change is personal accountability,” said St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray. “Don’t throw garbage out of the car window. Go home, put it in your trash.
But the appearance can also be affected on a much larger scale. City Councilor Madison Davis points out that homelessness and mental health are the main drivers of the community’s image.
“In some cases people are not in the right place where they can be, so we have to try to find ways to take these people with them and show them what could be done and how to improve their areas,” he said. Davis said.
The problem is also as big as the vacant and dilapidated properties all over the city.
“The biggest problem along this stretch is the old abandoned buildings,” said resident Dana Black, referring to St. Joseph Avenue. “There are houses that have been abandoned, that have been destroyed, but they are mostly businesses. “
Black recommends incentives to attract entrepreneurs and small businesses to these vacant buildings. She also said it starts with the owners taking charge of their property.
“If you take pride in your own property, it shows,” Black said. “It becomes a pride that kind of seeps into a community.”
Pride – that was the only word constantly mentioned.
“It really all comes down to the place of honor,” said Isobel McGowan, owner of Shakespeare’s Castle. “Appreciating the appearance of your community reflects the people who live there. If the people who live there care about their community, then they should care about how it looks. “
That’s what the anti-waste campaign is trying to figure out – how to get people to care.
“You have to, first of all, listen to what they want,” Turbak said. “You have to engage the community in a conversation, find out what they need, find out what is bothering them, and then try to resolve those issues. “
The next step is to educate and provide outreach services. The committee wants to start with the children to bring about a lasting change to the appearance of the city.
“The kids will teach their parents and call their parents,” McGowan said. “I think starting with educating the public, in schools, a campaign through the visitor’s bureau and the Chamber of Commerce, those kinds of city leaders, would be very helpful.”
Appearance is a concern for the city, as it is usually the first thing visitors notice when visiting the city. It directly affects tourism and population growth. For residents, it’s about taking care of their investments.
“It would be foolish of me not to care about the community that I’ve invested in, because where that community goes, so does my investment here,” said McGowan.