Town wins district Clean City Contest

GOLDEN MEADOW – Preparation and community involvement were keys to Golden Meadow capturing the title of Cleanest City this year, event organizers said.

In the town’s first attempt at the Louisiana Garden Club Federation’s Cleanest City Competition, Golden Meadow won in its district, beating out other cities or towns with populations of between 1,501 and 3,500 residents.

The town will now compete on the state level.

Those involved said the designation is a satisfying one.

“We think it’s a pretty big accomplishment for a town of our size to do what we do our first time out,” said Golden Meadow Town Clerk Jamie Liner, adding that the town was sponsored by the Thibodaux Garden Club. “It was a lot of hard work, but in the end, it paid off.”

Judges with the federation were in Golden Meadow last week assessing the town and comparing it to others of its size.

The town was judged on the cleanliness of its public buildings, streets and sidewalks, and also on that of its park, business establishments and vacant lots.

In 1958, the federation sponsored a statewide competition, the intent of which was to instill civic pride and improve the appearance of towns and cities.

The effort also involved documenting the cleanup of sites with a scrapbook that contains before and after photos.

Golden Meadow officials were notified of the town’s win a few days after the judges left.

Preparing for the competition was no easy feat, but town officials promoted the challenge for a few years in the town’s newsletter.

“We figured it would be a good challenge,” said Mayor Joey Bouziga.

But the decision to enter was not made lightly.

“Every year, we kept saying, ëWell, we’re not quite ready,’ ” said Bouziga, adding that the town has undergone much improvement.

Those improvements include a newly renovated swimming pool and a new walking track in Oakridge Park. The cleanup effort has also seen the beginnings of an informal trash patrol.

“Everybody’s been picking up trash,” Bouziga noted.

From the local Sheriff’s Office, which provided trusties to paint the town’s sea wall, to local students who cleaned up their school grounds, most of the town’s population helped.

Also participating was SWDI, which town officials said was a big help in disposing of the trash piles, a task that took about a week.

It’s that cooperation and willingness to help that town officials said was an integral role in the success.

“A lot of it was community involvement,” said Liner. “Without that community involvement – the residents taking care of their yards, the businesses cleaning up – it wouldn’t have happened.”

Town officials asked that residents, business owners and others again take up the cause as the town will be judged at a higher level.

“We need all civic organizations in town to participate and need all residents and businesses to keep the area cleaned and the grass cut,” said Cindy Lefort, the town’s assistant clerk.

Along with regular maintenance of property, the town will sponsor a cleanup in preparation for the next round of judging, a “Make Our Town Shine” day, tentatively scheduled for late April or early May.

For more information about how to become involved in the effort, call 475-5163.

Katina A. Gaudet can be reached at 693-6319 or 448-7614 or by e-mail at katina.gaudet@dailycomet.com.