Letters for 03-23-2017

Help make parish attractive to visitors
Like communities across the country,
Union Parish leaders are hoping for a
haymaker: An announcement that a major
corporation is bringing hundreds of highpaying
jobs to Union Parish.
It hasn’t happened here, but it did land
close to home.
Union Parish should position itself as a
bedroom community to Ouachita Parish as
hundreds of people will be relocating to the
area after expansions at CenturyLink and
IBM, which is opening an application and
development center to support CenturyLink.
Many will come from areas across the country
where a 40-minute drive to work – which
they’d have from here to Monroe – is very
In 2016, the North Louisiana Economic
Partnership invited leaders from across the
parish to identify strengths that can be used
to convince those relocating to the area to set
down their roots in Union Parish. The group
also identified areas where improvements
could make the parish more attractive to
newcomers. Of the areas where the parish
could improve, one stood out for the seeming
simplicity of making it happen.
Eliminating litter.
State highways and roads throughout
the parish are strewn with litter, ranging
from soft drink cups and cans to bags of
corn and rice bran used to feed deer. Every
one of those items is where it is through a
conscious decision made by someone – to
throw it out the window of their vehicle or
to leave it unsecured in the back of a truck
or on a trailer.
A group of residents from Union Parish
came together in 2015 to create Keep Union
Beautiful. An affiliate of Keep America
Beautiful, the local organization is seeking
to engage and involve people across the
parish – from Downsville to Spearsville, from
Marion to Bernice and all points in between
– to raise awareness of the problem and to
provide solutions.
On April 1, the group will again host the
Great Union Parish Clean UP as part of the
national organization’s Great American Clean
Up. You will have a chance to mark your spot
during “Signing Day” on March 23 from 4-6
p.m. at Marion State Bank in Farmerville.
Last year, more than three dozen groups,
organizations and individuals signed up to
tackle litter problems across the parish, a
promising response to KUB as it was the
first year they had taken part in the event.
Promising became remarkable when close to
200 volunteers showed up on Clean UP day,
just weeks removed from devastating flooding
that racked the parish.
If the promise of a burger, chips and
a cold drink aren’t enough to get you to
“Signing Day, you can call 614.0599 or go the
group’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/
keepunionbeautiful - to stake your claim.
We are blessed almost beyond measure
to live and work in a place that rivals
or surpasses beauty found anywhere in
It’s up to all of us to do our part to Keep
Union Beautiful.