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Bonnaroo boosts River Cleanup
Main Street McMinnville partnered with McMinnville Breakfast Rotary Club for its cleanup effort along the river on July 16. Main Street obtained a grant from Bonnaroo Works Fund through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to purchase four new jon boats to be used during the preservation event. Pictured, from left, Paige Chastain, Randy Garrison, Debbie Sain, Vanessa Miller and Brook Holmes. Seated is Neal Cox.

This year’s river cleanup effort in Warren County received an added boost from Bonnaroo by way of a grant to purchase boats for the event.
McMinnville Breakfast Rotary Club spearheads a River Cleanup Project each year to preserve the county’s waterways. This year, thanks to a partnership between the club and Main Street McMinnville, a grant was awarded to Main Street McMinnville by the Bonnaroo Works Fund through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which made it possible for Main Street to purchase four new jon boats and paddles, just in time for this year’s cleanup.
“McMinnville is a river city,” said Randy Garrison, past president of Main Street McMinnville and member of Breakfast Rotary. “The Barren Fork River is the source of our water supply, provides an abundance of outdoor recreation and is a setting of great natural beauty in our city and county. We need to be good stewards of this abundance that God has given up, and the annual river cleanup is an important way of doing that.”
“McMinnville Breakfast Rotary saw that need, years ago, and responded in a manner that has had a great positive impact on our natural environment,” said Garrison. “Main Street McMinnville is proud to be a part of this endeavor to preserve and protect our rivers.”
This is the ninth year for the cleanup effort. The event has grown since its initial effort that attracted a handful of volunteers and focused on three miles of river. This year, the annual event attracted 375 volunteers who cleaned 40 miles of river and removed six tons of trash and 320 tires.
Boats are always needed.
“One of the greatest needs, after our volunteers, is boats or barges to haul the trash taken from the river to the pickup points where it is collected by the city of McMinnville,” said Neal Cox, a member of Breakfast Rotary and coordinator of the cleanup event. “This is where Main Street McMinnville stepped in and helped us out in a big way. Main Street McMinnville’s contribution to McMinnville Breakfast Rotary of four new jon boats and paddles made a significant difference in how much trash we collected and how quickly and easily we got it to the pickup points.”
The Bonnaroo Works Fund annually awards grants to middle Tennessee organizations in the areas of the arts, education and environmental sustainability. This is the second year Main Street McMinnville has received a grant through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Last year’s grant made it possible for the organization to purchase receptacles for collecting aluminum cans for recycling which are used during Main Street Live summer concert series and other downtown events.
“We are grateful to the Bonnaroo Works Fund and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for helping us to maintain a cleaner, more beautiful community and river,” said Paige Chastain, Executive Co-Director of Main Street McMinnville. 
The cleanup effort was held July 16.