0301KHBaudCindy Reed talks about her goals for Keep Hall Beautiful.
Keep Hall Beautiful has a new director, a new office and a fresh start.
The nonprofit organization, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Georgia Beautiful, had been headed by Marsha Fletcher for years. But a few months ago, Fletcher suffered serious health problems that prevented her from continuing in the job.
In the interim, the organization’s board of directors turned to Cindy Reed, who has worked for 12 years with Keep Our Mountains Beautiful, doing environmental education in Banks, Towns, Union and Lumpkin counties.
"They first came to me and said, ‘Marsha’s out sick, we need you to help us out until she comes back,’" said Reed.
She began filling in one or two days a week.
"There’s a good bit of paperwork that has to be turned in to the state," she said. "There are three (litter pickup crew) workers that have to be paid."
Keep Hall Beautiful receives some money from both Gainesville and Hall, but also raises funds through donations and events. Rick Foote, natural resources coordinator for Hall, and Danny Owen, solid waste superintendent for Gainesville, represent their respective governments on the KHB board.
They also both worked with Reed on the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center’s environmental committee.
Foote said when it became obvious that Fletcher would not be able to return to her position, "it was really a no-brainer" to hire Reed.
"She already knew the ropes of the Keep America Beautiful system and could hit the ground running," Foote said. "She has a lot of energy, new ideas, and good public relations and networking skills. We’re pretty lucky to have her."
Reed starts working full time on Monday.
"I’m just getting my feet wet now," she said. "There are so many resources in Hall. But there are also so many issues: beautification, recycling, water conservation."
Reed said the priority is to educate the public about environmental problems and solutions."Litter pickups are great, but I don’t want people to think that’s all we do," she said. "We don’t just want to work on litter pickup. We want litter eradication, so (eventually) we don’t need pickup crews."
A Gainesville native and Johnson High graduate who has lived in Banks County since 1990, Reed is making a homecoming of sorts with her new job. She’ll be working in Keep Hall Beautiful’s new office at 723 Washington St., across from Opal & J.R. flower shop.
"We want to be very visible to the public so they know who we are, what we’re doing," she said.
This is a busy time of year for Keep Hall Beautiful, with Earth Day coming up on April 22 and the Spring Chicken Festival on April 26. The latter is a fundraiser for Hall’s tree replacement fund, which provides grants to local organizations to plant trees.
Once the weather gets warm and Lake Lanier’s level starts to drop again, Reed expects to be doing a lot of programs about conserving water.
"I hate to say anything good came from a drought, but water conservation is a huge thing now," she said.
And awareness about the scarcity of water also seems to have made the public more conscientious about other environmental issues, such as saving energy by switching to compact fluorescent lights.
"People are more willing to take those extra steps now," Reed said.
She’s also excited about working with local government on issues such as illegal dumping.
"I think Gainesville and Hall County are very progressive when it comes to certain environmental issues," she said. "I think the other counties are jealous of our environmental court, and (the fact that) the laws are enforced."