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Group Hopes To Take Back West Side

Reported: May. 3, 2014 6:00 PM EDT
Updated: May. 3, 2014 9:41 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- A group of volunteers showed Charleston's West Side some love on Saturday to help take away the all too familiar sight of trash along the side of the roads.

"I hope the community sees how many people are out there that care about the West Side," Stephanie Johnson, one of Saturday's volunteers and the director of West Side Main Street, said.

Johnson was one of more than 150 people who came out to help the West Side Neighborhood Association in the Taking Back the West Side event. She felt this was important for everyone.

"Whenever the [community] surveys went out here in Charleston, the biggest concern from the community was that trash was all over the place," Johnson said.

The Rev. Ron Stoner, with Emmanuel Baptist and director of the neighborhood association, said because trash was the number one concern in the community, he was determined to work on the problem.

Volunteers collected close to 200 bags of trash.

Nathaniel Burdette volunteered with his Boy Scout troop with hopes to clean up his home town.

"This is one of Charleston larger residential areas and we'd like to make it cleaner," Burdette said. "Summer's coming up and there's a lot of things going on down here, like FestivAll. It'd be nice to have a clean West Side."

Like many volunteers, Burdette has a positive outlook on the West Side. That's one reason why he volunteered. He said there's much more to this part of town than shootings, stabbings and violence.

Rev. Stoner agreed with Burdette.

"We get upset and see it as a crisis when the shootings take place and it feels dangerous," Stoner said. "But one of our purposes it to make it better."

Because organizers said this was a great success, they will be meeting on May 15th to possibly plan another clean up on the West Side.



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