Madison Avenue residents, business owners and visitors want to send a message that spreads as fast as weeds.
"The ‘broken window' theory states that litter and weeds and graffiti give the impression that no one cares about the community, and when you have that impression, people think you can litter there, people think you can commit crimes," says Janet Boscarino, Executive Director of Clean Memphis.
Clean Memphis, a non-profit working to keep the city clean, pulled and sprayed weeds – using environmentally friendly sprays - and picked up trash on Madison Avenue Saturday morning as a part of their "Weed Out Madison" event.
"With so many people coming to the street now and going to the businesses and living in the condos, we want people to be able to walk along the street and have it be clean and not be something that's an eyesore," says Jed McQuown, President of the Madison Avenue Business Association.
The business association and Clean Memphis hope others realized this isn't just a community cleanup initiative but they also want businesses to help show they too take pride in their district.
"Businesses are stakeholders, homeowners are stakeholders, non-profits like myself – we all are stakeholders in the well-being of this street and we all need to take responsibility," says Boscarino, "No one else is going to do it; we collectively have to take care of our communities together."
McQuown adds that the sidewalks they pull weeds and pick up trash on may technically be city property, but the city cannot do it all by itself either.
"It can't just be where the 12 or 24 of us walk up and down the streets," he says, "It's got to be where all the businesses take pride in their small space and they go out and pick up the weeds and they keep their lawns cut."
Clean Memphis conducts more than 270 "sweeps" – as they call them – every year, including in high profile areas such as Graceland and The Civil Rights Museum.
To learn more or participate in a "sweep" – as they call them – visit the Clean Memphis website or call them at (901) 235-2416.