It’s time to clean up this town, city officials say, and surprisingly, not everybody seems to be excited about the prospect.

Apparently, some love their junk.

Now I’m not talking about the assorted knick knacks we all have sitting around the living room, piled up in the closets and stacked in the garage or shed.

Nope, this is the stuff scattered out on the lawn or parked out front.

Some folks say an old toilet with weeds growing out of it is some sort of folksy art work, but I doubt their neighbors do – or, for that matter, they would if said commode was sitting in the fella across the street’s yard.

“Harold Smith! Harold! Do you see what the Jones done got in their yard? It’s a genuine antique commode, yellow, cracked and all! We absolutely have to get one!”

Not likely right?

A large portion of the city is already downright tidy.

The city crews keep the parks and physical streets clean. The BEEs, or Beautify El Campo Extension, make sure we have flowers and glowing candlestick lights. And, a large chunk of the residents take pride in vying for Yard Of The Month honors.

Unfortunately, that makes the trashy spots stand out even more.

It’s like getting all dressed up and going to church with your teenager in tow wearing the t-shirt he spilled something all over the night before. Yuck.

The city is working to help make El Campo shine in visitors eyes.

Why not give them a hand?

Living in an old home or working out of an old business doesn’t mean the structure should be decorated with old tires, broken lawnmowers, large odd pieces or assorted machinery, junk vehicles – or that toilet we’ve already talked about – and that’s the point the city is trying to make.

It’s a battle against blight, declared last year by Mayor Randy Collins and once championed by Ann Leach, a woman some might remember.

The effort is starting with the main corridors of El Campo with plans to continue.

Why?

In a community, you give up a little bit of the artistic decorating freedom that turns mud-encrusted hubcaps into stepping stones or old car doors into trestles and piles of broken concrete into sculptures.

In exchange, you get all the benefits of being in the city (yes, you get the taxes too).

Here’s the thing to consider, however.

Visitors like to come to pretty towns. Visitors tend to spend money when they are visiting.

That money spent helps mitigate the cost each homeowner pays as well as helping with the wages of Suzy Iamclerk and Roberto Workforalivin.

That means visitors are a good thing.

So it’s time to dress for success.

It just might help you save money in the long run.

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– Shannon Crabtree is editor & publisher of the El Campo Leader-News.

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