Keeping alive a tradition 25 years in the making, Alexandria residents will be giving the town its annual spring cleaning on Saturday.
Jeff Bryan, executive director of the Alexandria Monroe Chamber of Commerce, said residents will be planting flowers, painting fire hydrants, pulling weeds and picking up trash in downtown Alexandria. He said CARE day is something the town's residents get involved with every year to make the downtown area feel more clean and vibrant.
"People feel so good about getting work done," Bryan said. "We get so much positive feedback afterwards about how good the town looks."
Alexandria prides itself on its "Small Town USA" moniker, and Bryan said people really get involved with keeping the town looking good. He said last year the chamber had 160 volunteers participate and he expects to have as many, if not more, this year.
The cleanup begins at 8 a.m. in Harrison Park and lunch will be provided.
"Anyone can volunteer," he said, "even on the day of the cleanup. Last year we had two people walk up and volunteer on the spot."
The CARE day started in the late 1980s when a couple of Alexandria business owners decided the best way for them to give back to the community would be to help keep the downtown area looking beautiful. Bryan said that is the reason the chamber of commerce is still the driving force behind the program.
What started as a few businessmen has expanded into a much larger project with many more people, but Bryan said the idea behind the day is still the same.
"This one day provides a major boost to the whole city for the rest of the year," Bryan said.
In addition to revitalizing the downtown area, Bryan said, Alexandria will also have a large container available at the Alexandria Street Department building for large trash items. There will be no pickup but residents are welcome to bring any large items to the building.