“I understand that we’re in a recession, but not mowing the median grass on Flat Shoals for five months is unacceptable,” said community resident Rochelle Callender.
The county has received a lot of complaints about upkeep of Flat Shoals Parkway, a major artery though unincorporated south DeKalb County. However, according to Nancy Funny Lawrence of DeKalb County Code Enforcement, Flat Shoals Parkway, (State Road 155) is the Georgia Department of Transportation’s responsibility. “They used to maintain it quarterly, now they’ve cut back to twice a year,” she said.
No matter who’s technically responsible for it, the county chose the stretch of Flat Shoals Parkway from I-285 to Snapfinger Road for the first of four projects in its Great DeKalb Cleanup campaign. In an announcement of the effort, county officials said the selected areas were “in dire need of cleaning and maintenance.”
On Oct. 9, county employees, including Lawrence and Dwight Maxwell of Natural Resources Management, set up a staging area at the DeKalb Community Achievement Center, where volunteers could sign-in and receive assignments, trash pick-up sticks, bright lime-green vests and bottled water.
By midmorning, a squadron of county employees, community service workers and neighborhood volunteers were out trimming grass, removing weeds, picking up trash and removing illegal signs. Personal protective equipment, lawn maintenance equipment and tools were provided by the sanitation and parks and recreation departments, and sanitation department managers were on hand to direct the work. Teams were out from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The same schedule is set at other locations for the remaining weekends in October.
Lawrence said that code enforcement would be photographing political and business signs before removing them so that those responsible could be cited.
“People have spoken out,” said Callender, a volunteer who’s also president to the homeowners’ association for a nearby subdivision. “They don’t care whether the county or the state addresses the problem, if it gets done, it will be much appreciated.”
State Rep. Rahn Mayo (District 91) stopped by the staging area Saturday morning to talk with volunteers and county employees. “I want to lend support and get involved however I need to.”
He said that it’s great that the state, the county and the community can come together to solve a problem. “I love it. I just love it,” Mayo added. Pointing to the numerous office parks and retail strips along the parkway, he said that he would like to see businesses in the area get involved, too.
“I have a vision of what we can do here on Flat Shoals—not just clean up, but beautify the area, put mulch around the trees and plants in the rights of way,” Mayo said.
Area resident Larry Stevenson said he hadn’t heard about the Great DeKalb Cleanup, but he when he saw the activity, he stopped to see what was going on. He said he was delighted to see the project under way. “I was one of the main ones calling code enforcement to complain,” he said.
Callendar said, “People need to take pride in their neighborhoods. They should be taught at home growing up to take responsibility and stop littering, just stop littering.”
The remaining Great DeKalb Cleanup schedule is:
Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17
Memorial Drive (GA Highway 10) from Candler Road to Goldsmith Drive
Staging area: Bobby Burgess Building
3630 Camp Circle. Decatur
Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24
Buford Highway (US 23/GA 13) from North Druid Hills Roads to Dresden Drive
Staging area: the shopping center just north of Buford Highway and Clairmont Road
Saturday, Oct. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 31
Covington Highway (US 278/GA 12) from South Hairston Road to Klondike Road
Staging area: Covington Highway at South Hairston Road
For more information on the Great DeKalb Cleanup, contact the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment (ONEDeKalb) at (404) 371-2881 or visit www.onedekalb.com.