April is Keep America Beautiful (KAB) Month, but a local group is concerned that not enough attention is being paid to keeping Clark County beautiful and litter free.

April is Keep America Beautiful (KAB) Month, but a local group is concerned that not enough attention is being paid to keeping Clark County beautiful and litter free.
During the winter, the Primrose Garden Club formed a committee to explore the litter problem and met with city and county officials at City Hall to ask questions and seek cooperative solutions.
Questions related to economic development were directed to Gary Brinkley, City Manager, and the Area Chamber Executive Vice President Shelley Loe.
Brinkley stated that when he moved here from Texas, he was impressed with the natural beauty of the forests, lakes and rivers in the Arkadelphia area.
“I can tell you,” Brinkley stated, “it does make a difference when you are showing the town to prospective clients who are looking to invest their money and time on a project when our city is littered and property is poorly kept. People can invest their money anywhere and when we are not putting our best foot forward, it makes it especially harder to recruit restaurants and retailers and others. The sad fact is it is easy to choose not to litter.”
Loe added she learned in a statewide meeting that property values are reduced by at least seven percent in areas where litter is present, a fact substantiated in a nationwide KAB survey. She also commented that on a trip to Ireland, it was impossible to not notice the cleanliness, and that cities there acknowledge people doing positive things to keep it pristine: a practice the local Chamber has since adopted.
When committee chairman Dinah Arnold asked Sheriff Jason Watson what the current practices are for his office in picking up roadside litter, many in the meeting were surprised at his answers. Watson responded that his staff usually spends three to five days a week somewhere on the numerous county roads supervising and conducting litter pick-ups.
In the previous week, his department had spent three days working on Highway 7 from the Ouachita River bridge to the eastern county line. In that 16-mile stretch, three hundred sixty five (365) bags of litter were collected.
Primrose Club President Betsy Penney asked Chief of Police Jason Jackson if his office receives more complaints from certain areas in the city and if he knows who the main perpetrators of littering are.
“I don’t know if there are necessarily areas where it occurs more frequently, “ Jackson responded, “as much as it is more noticeable in areas that are less heavily populated because homeowners pick it up in their yards. We see it more along Country Club Road and a specific section of Walnut because there are no houses there and, therefore, nobody to pick it up in those areas. I do believe that the younger drivers are the worst offenders, but they are careful to do it when other vehicles (especially police cars) are not around. Country Club is also a prime area because of all the apartment complexes in the area with younger occupants.”
Recently, Jackson added that the fine for littering in the city is $315 and a mandatory 8 hours of community service is imposed, which is usually picking up trash.
“The city sanitation department,” he noted, “does pick up the bagged trash when a litter collection is performed. To my knowledge only one or two citations were issued in the city for littering in 2017.”
Before spring break in March, significant trash was noticed along a section of Country Club Road. During the break, a group of volunteers (reportedly Second Baptist Church youth) picked up the strewn litter.
In the less than half-mile span between 15th Street and Millcreek, 14 garbage bags of litter and two oversize boxes were collected. In just eight days after spring break ended, 70 new items of litter have been scattered along that same stretch. During the same time frame, drivers observed a similar case scenario along Malone Drive.