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Newtown, Fair Street residents to clean streets

Cleanup is part of Keep Hall Beautiful program

POSTED: March 18, 2011 12:46 a.m.

Gainesville's Newtown and Fair Street residents are hitting their sidewalks this weekend to keep the neighborhood clean.

As part of Keep Hall Beautiful's biweekly community cleanups, the group will grab litter on the southeast side of Jesse Jewell and E.E. Butler parkways.

"I always tell people that if we all pick up one piece of paper, it'll help us all live a bit easier," said Gainesville City Council member Myrtle Figueras, also a member of the Fair Street Neighborhood Planning Unit.

"Let's get everyone out there to help."

Several Boy Scouts troops will also don gloves and grab trash bags to clean debris.

"We try to involve them as well so children can learn to take pride in their community," Figueras said. "We want them to begin early."

Saturday's event fits in with the goals of the Newtown Florist Club and the Fair Street Neighborhood Planning Unit, which are to maintain a clean community amid commercial and industrial developments.

"We've been focusing on the beautification of the community with houses that need painting and making sure the grass gets cut," said Faye Bush, executive director of the florist club. "It's hard when you have these junkyards and areas on the side of your neighborhood that you have to look at every day, but we keep it up. We're always dusting and sweeping."

This weekend's initiative is another step in developing a volunteer base that could pitch in with Newtown and Fair Street cleanups on an ongoing basis.

"There's a good bit of community organization here, and I really like working with a neighborhood that cares," Chris Davis, Gainesville's housing programs manager, told the Fair Street planning unit.

By using federal Community Development Block Grant funds, Davis is planning a series of home rehabilitation ideas for the neighborhood.

"Especially if we can find days when the community will get together to do the labor, I can use funding to get dumpsters and buy paint, and we can really make some changes quickly," Davis said.

Keep Hall Beautiful officials set a goal to collect 10 tons of garbage in 2010 and brought in more than 40 tons for the year. This year, they hope to gather more than 60 tons of litter from Hall County's streets and streams through the weekend cleanups.

The group is already making plans for the Great American Cleanup months, which Keep America Beautiful is hosting nationwide March 1 through May 31, with plans to clean areas in Oakwood on April 16 and Flowery Branch on May 14.

"These community cleanup days give people a sense of community, and from an individual standpoint, it helps people to feel better about their community," said council member George Wangemann, also a board member for Keep Hall Beautiful. "My favorite part of these events is getting to know new people that I hadn't been acquainted with before. This week, I can make new friends in the Newtown and Fair Street areas."



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