Benton Harbor, Mich. After a long and hard winter, spring cleaning became a vital part of the Renew Benton Harbor campaign on Saturday.
A fall clean-up lead by the Benton Harbor Downtown Development Authority made way for winter in the city, but organizers say a spring clean-up was a necessary follow through.
“This time the residents liked it so much that they said ‘Hey we want to join in,’” said Bryan Tutton, President of the Benton Harbor DDA. “If you drive down the street you'll see more residents than I’ve ever seen before that have joined in and are cleaning up everywhere in the city.”
Trash was the biggest target of spring cleaners on Saturday. Hundreds of pounds of litter were hauled away at the end of the day, although volunteers agree there’s still a ways to go.
“Since the fall the city is cleaner, there's a transformation,” Tutton said. “I meant here's so many changes that people don’t even think about.”
One of those changes is in City Hall, according to members of the DDA.
“With the new administration, we’ve got a new cohesive group of people that are very professional and eager to move the city forward,” said Bryan Joseph of the Benton Harbor DDA.
The authority plans to make the clean ups a tradition for the spring and fall in the hopes of continuing to revitalize the city.
“The first thing you need to do is you've got to clean it up, you've got to fix it up and you've got to drive it forward economically,” Tutton said. “It’s going to take a few years but we’re definitely on the right track to where we want to be.”