Lanett committee seeks restoration

Published 11:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

The city of Lanett Restoration Committee discussed methods for cleanup and outreach efforts during a meeting on Wednesday.

“If we can clean up the town, everybody benefits from that,” Kalman said. 

The Lanett Restoration Committee was initially formed as a beautification campaign for the city’s cleanup efforts. Kalman said Mayor Jamie Heard had asked him to spearhead a beautification committee. 

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The group, made up of Kalman, Patsy Lewis, Martha Scott and Sonya Lowe, began with a citywide cleanup for appliances, furniture and other bulky items. The project lasted two weekends. 

“I thought it went very well,” Kalman said. 

However, after taking a tour of the city with Lanett’s code enforcement officer, the group felt discouraged and disillusioned about their goals. 

“It was like another world,” Lewis said. 

She said many neighborhoods, including the neighborhood around N 12th Street, was not being upkept. There was litter and other code violations that were becoming an eyesore. Lewis said people don’t want to move to town because of it. 

“It’s deplorable,” she said.

“The way we see it, our task is to move forward and help restore this town but obviously we four can’t do it alone,” Kalman said. 

Kalman hopes the restoration committee will act as a catalyst for bringing community organizations, schools and churches together. He said their goal has shifted from cleanup efforts to trying to change the mindset of the citizens. 

“Unless people start taking care of things, we can’t keep cleaning up after them,” Kalman said.

According to Lewis, research has shown that a clean city discourages crime activity. As for next steps, they hope to meet with and partner with civic organizations to discuss plans moving forward. 

Recently, the group spoke at Springwood School about litter and what impact it has on the environment. They passed out t-shirts with the logo “Love Our Lanett,” encouraging students to pick up litter. They will be speaking at W.O. Lance Elementary School on Jan. 16. 

The group plans to speak with the city councilmembers about hosting community meetings to discuss efforts that the city and its citizens can make together.

They have also worked with Goodsell Baptist Church Pastor Kelsey Barnes, Melvin Floyd and Sonya Lowe, who sponsors the Children of Shawmut.