County crews, community service workers and volunteers mowed the median between Clifton Springs and Snapfinger roads in Decatur and picked up trash last weekend.
This weekend, Oct. 16 and 17, they will turn their attention to Memorial Drive from Candler Road to Goldsmith Drive.
The efforts are part of the Great DeKalb Clean Up launched by DeKalb County to spruce up unkempt areas of unincorporated DeKalb and help stabilize property values countywide.
The long-standing neglect of south DeKalb County was highlighted in a Sept. 25 CrossRoadsNews article and photo essay. Since then, county crews have mowed miles of medians and cut overgrown weeds and kudzu.
The cleanup fever even got to the South DeKalb Striders Running Club. Instead of club members’ usual Saturday run, on Oct. 9 they stopped to pick up trash at the intersection of Panthersville Road and Flat Shoals Parkway.
Members said they were unaware of the county’s clean-up efforts two miles down the road.
Edward Driver of Decatur said club members just got tired of seeing the trash along their run route.
“We decided to dedicate a Saturday to clean up instead of running,” he said.
DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson said Thursday that this is the kind of public-private partnership that is going to take to clean up the place. He said the Code Enforcement department and Keep DeKalb Beautiful have roles but it’s going to take a community partnership.
“The government can’t do it alone,” he said. “Residents have to do their part as well.”
On the Oct. 9 clean up, people sentenced to community service by the courts and volunteers picked up trash while county workers mowed waist high grass in the median and along the sidewalks on Flat Shoals Parkway.
They also documented and removed illegally posted signs in the right-of-ways.
On Oct. 30 and 31, the effort will move to Covington Highway from South Hairston to Klondike roads.
Johnson said he was unaware of any plan being put in place for routine regular clean up of South DeKalb. He said that the county doesn’t own street sweepers because they cost $700,000 each.
“And we couldn’t get one,” he said. “So as not to tear them up we would need three or four.”
In the meantime, Johnson said we have to think outside the box.
“I had suggested planting fruit trees in the medians but I got shot down,” he said. “If we had fruit trees there, we would keep them clean.”
Johnson is hoping that residents who are not keeping up the sidewalk in front of their homes will now start to do so.
“If it needs to be done, just do it,” he said. “We all have to work together.”
To join upcoming clean ups, visit www.onedekalb.com or call 404-371-2881.