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MERIT ON DEMARET: Boone County neighbors rally to clean up neglected street

"God bless everyone involved!"

COLUMBIA, Mo 6/17/16 (Beat Byte) -- Sean Ryno and Susan Roe are bringing some neighborly merit to Demaret Drive, a Boone County street that illustrates how social problems can surround neglected real estate. 

Ryno and Roe want to tackle the most visible part of that neglect -- trash in yards, streets, and sidewalks -- in a day-long effort this Sunday

"The trash in the streets is unsightly, and causes hazards for everyone -- especially the children who play here," they write on a GoFundMe page.   "The goal is to get all the yards and streets clear of loose trash and debris on June 19th."
 
Cleaning up trash -- a simple objective -- can pay big dividends.  The so-called "Broken Windows Theory" claims improving a neighborhood's physical environment can reduce crime.  

Christened "Demaret Area Care," the clean-up project -- which includes six streets off St. Charles Road -- is drawing praise and media attention

"Good stuff guys," Jesse Rowden posted on the Demaret Area Care Facebook page.  "It's nice to see individuals taking responsibility for their community instead of trying to pass the tax buck."
 
"Let's all get on board with this project," added Rosie James.  

Trouble on Demaret DriveMan pleads guilty in double shooting on Demaret Drive.  Sheriff's office searches for suspects in Demaret Drive shootings. 

Absentee landlords, chronic offenders, lack of community, and poorly-maintained rentals have taken a toll on Demaret Drive, an excellent location -- close to schools, shopping, and transportation -- that could be a model of affordable housing.    

Boone County Commissioners have used Demaret -- a next-door Columbia neighbor -- to illustrate the need for a Columbia-style "rental compliance program" that would, in theory, mandate better rental housing.  

In practice, however, rental compliance programs have little impact on slumlords and property neglect, as trips through some rental-heavy Columbia neighborhoods illustrate.  

Caring neighbors are the most important ingredient in quality housing and healthy neighborhoods.    They are less tolerant of slumlords, keep an eye on each other, and form a circle of tranquility bad actors find hard to penetrate

"I want to send the message that people are worth investing in," Ryno explains.  "I would also like to influence people in other neighborhoods to come up with peaceful ways to get things done."
 
The group details Sunday's plan on their GoFundMe page:  make introductions; seek permission to  clean private yards (no trespassing!); attract Facebook visitors; enlist volunteers and cash donors; use the effort as a catalyst for long-term neighborhood engagement. 

"At 10 a.m. June 19th, I will be at the “T” of Snead and Demaret with bags for volunteers," Ryno explains.   "The goal is to get all trash from the size of a bottle cap or straw, into trash bags before Sunday evening.   We may even accommodate large trash.  Monday morning I will have all bags filled for this project hauled off to the dump." 
 
"I have prayed up and down the street about this!"  Andraya Ford writes on the group's Facebook page.   "God bless everyone involved!"

Demaret Area Care Facebook page

Demaret Area Care trash cleanup project


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