As Thomson Police Chief Anson Evans continues his program to reduce blight and crime in the McGahee Quarters area (Bussey/Gus and surrounding areas) volunteers will converge on the area for a community clean up day and march July 18.
In Phase I, Evans met with property owners and landlords. Phase II was a meeting with residents and several others in the community wanting to make a change.
Phase III is not just a clean up day but also a Stop the Violence March.
“I hope everybody turns out — with all the pastors coming out like they’re trying to and the city doing so much,” Evans said.
The chief is asking individual volunteers as well as organized groups from churches, sororities, fraternities, the Thomson Family Y, and others to participate. Also, he hopes residents in the neighborhood will support the day. All participants will be required to wear masks.
“I really hope that everybody in the McGahee Quarters area shows up to be a part of that,” he added.
The event kicks off at Pitts Street Park at 2 p.m. The community cleanup will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and trash bags will be provided.
He also hopes residents will start to clean up their yards and neighborhood in advance of the community event.
“It’s like if I invite you to my home, I’m going to clean up. I hope they have the same mind set and they will clean up all the beer cans, clean up the yards a little bit and do everything else. You really don’t want other people coming into your neighborhood and doing things for you,” Evans said.
The chief has also made arrangements to help any residents who have abandoned vehicles they need to have removed. A local company has volunteered to remove the cars.
“We do have an ordinance that says you can’t have junk cars in your yard. We’re going to go down and do a lot of code enforcement prior to, and hopefully we can just get them ready to say ‘Okay, this is a car I want to get rid of,” the chief said.
“If anyone else wants to volunteer their towing agency, that would be great as well,” he said.
During the Phase II meeting last week, one resident of another neighborhood pledged her support and said she would be there. She told the audience that what happens in the Bussey/Gus area impacts the entire community — all of McDuffie County. It also impacts the future of the city and county.
“We need to bring people here,” said Evans. “And, we just can’t have certain areas of town that people are scared to go into because of what they have heard.”
Why should someone elsewhere in Thomson, or in Dearing, or out in the unincorporated parts of McDuffie County attend on July 18?
“They’re welcomed to come and that’s what we need. We need a lot of people to just come out and say ‘stop the violence,” Evans said. “Let's stop the violence, let's stop all the silliness, stop all the killing. Let’s stop all the gangs and all that other stuff period in Thomson. We want to clean up so people can feel good about their neighborhood.”
After the cleanup, the Stop the Violence March will begin at 4:15 p.m. at Pitts Street Park. Following that, local preachers will lead a vigil from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. at the CPRner of Bussey Avenue and Gus Street.
“Anytime you listen to any of the pastors and take their word, and try to get a better understanding of life, it’s always good,” Evans said. “I’m a big advocate of that. Young people don’t get a lot of religion nowadays, don’t get a lot wisdom or guidance. Sometimes you have to use ministers to voice that."