Please help keep Van Vleet clean
Around 1962, MDOT updated Hwy 32 at Van Vleet, cutting off a large triangular chunk of land belonging to Hugh Paden. This triangle was an ugly, naked cliff of yellow dirt that marked the entrance to the village’s main street.
At that time, Van Vleet boasted a very active 4-H Club sponsored by an equally active homemakers club. They voted to take on the Triangle as their beautification project.
After a mountain of applications and paper work, written permission (complete with map and measurements) was obtained from the Mississippi Highway Department giving us control of our project. Because of specified regulations, it was put in my name. Hugh Paden also gave permission to work in the center of the Triangle that still belonged to him.
With funds raised through the clubs, aid furnished by volunteers and the county, the cliff was pushed down, dirt moved and leveled. Carter Seed furnished grass seed and fertilizer. The clubs bought and planted three magnolias. Jimmy Lancaster planted a flower bed along the east side. We carried buckets of water for the plantings all that summer. The flowers proved too much work and one tree died. We replaced the tree and abandoned the flower bed.
Then the real problems began. The flat corner and shallow ditch offered the perfect place to unload and park hauling vehicles. Highway equipment appeared for oil and grease changes. Left were roots to mow over, nuts and bolts, oil and grease. Ditches were ran to put in electric cable and water lines- promises were made to fill in these; however, someone never had time.
I began mowing every two weeks and have done so consistently as long as I had a mower. I now pay to have it mowed. Feelings have been bruised when I’ve said “No” to political and yard sale signs.
It has been fifty years. We’ve had four wrecks including one death. The latest wreck occured when a log truck overturned, dumping its load on the north side. They did return to reload most of the logs, leaving pieces and bark to be raked and picked up along with the usaul beer, whiskey and coke bottles and cans.
Please try to understand when I say “No” or take down your signs or ask you to unlock merchandise padlocked to the magnolia trees.
I just want to keep one little patch of earth from becoming an eyesore.
Ruth “Chick” Carter
Van Vleet, Miss.