Despite ongoing controversy, cleanup evidence seen in Slater

Thursday, August 1, 2002
Larry Powers

With or without changes to the city's nuisance ordinance, the controversy over whether the Slater City Council should order people to clean up may be rallying residents to do just that.

After two hours of arguing, pleading and chastising, Tuesday night's public hearing to address the new ordinance finished with neighbors offering to help clean up properties and residents urging each other to cooperate and be proud of their city.

"I probably don't have the best property in Slater, but I have a decent one," said resident Russ Jones. "Let's just get along, help each other and make this place a decent place to live."

The crowd seemed to be buoyed when one younger resident stood up and announced he needed garbage day information in order to throw away junk in a neighbor's yard - a yard, he explained, he has been helping his neighbor clean up for several weeks.

Several residents, including Councilman Norman Depue, offered their assistance to help clean up that property or others across the city.

"I have trailers. Come by my home if you have anything to pull it. If you don't, I'll help," said Depue. "We have to probably get together and clean all this."

Others echoed that, with offers to help or provide trucks and trailers. "Let's work together, I think we should be proud of the city we live in," noted resident Charlie Guthrie.

Even before residents piled into the council chambers for Tuesday's hearing there were many signs the controversy has been heard across the town. Residents could be seen painting, burning brush, mowing lawns and fixing fences.

"I've talked to some Marshall real estate agents who've come and said to us 'We've noticed Slater is cleaning up the town and it's easier to sell properties,'" noted Councilman Terry Jordan. "You say you can't afford to clean up your property -- guys you can't afford not to."

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