The city of Knoxville has invested millions of dollars in the beautification of Cumberland Avenue, better known as “The Strip,” but litter has become a noticeable issue.
“Keeping Cumberland Avenue clean and beautiful is more than just about aesthetics,” Knoxville city Councilwoman Stephanie Welch said. “There’s wind and there are people who are not as careful as they could be and trash does get dropped. We want people to know Cumberland Avenue is a beautiful place for people to come.”
Discarded cigarettes and trash can be seen in the streets, sidewalks, and even plants, taking away from the greener, new and improved Cumberland Avenue.
“We were noticing a fair amount of trash getting left on the street and on the sidewalks, and we wanted to make sure that we were out here taking care of that trash and making sure we were doing our part to be environmentally responsible,” Anne Wallace, Knoxville’s deputy director of redevelopment, said.
Now the community is doing its part to clean up the mess, with more than a dozen volunteers visiting the area Tuesday to pick up the waste.
A number of businesses along the strip also joining in the clean up effort, pledging to take a more active role in routinely picking up the litter near their stores.
“One of the things, with the construction project, that I hear a lot of businesses say is that they lost some of their customers, because people don’t want to come back here or maybe they think the construction is still on-going, so what we want to do is as people come down here, we want to make sure that it’s clean and inviting, because in the past, it hasn’t always been that way,” Joe Burger, owner of the McDonald’s on Cumberland Avenue, said.
The goal is to stop trash from washing into storm drains and local creeks and to make the area a cleaner, more beautiful place that will keep visitors coming back.
“We want more people to come down and see what’s happening on Cumberland Avenue,” Welch said.