By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Volunteers set out today for cleanup
An artist’s rendering of Gainesville State College’s new academic building.

Hall County marshals and a slew of volunteers will take to the streets of District 4 this morning to help people clean up their neighborhoods.

Members of the group said they are looking forward to clear weather this weekend after the cleanup was postponed from September because of heavy rain.

Commissioner Ashley Bell planned the event as a way to help the county marshals, who have stepped up code enforcement this year.

The county is working with volunteers from Riverside Military Academy, the American Legion, Habitat from Humanity and the Rho Eta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority to haul away junk for homeowners who registered for the cleanup. They also will rake and mow lawns for homeowners who are disabled or age 60 and older.

"We’re more or less lifting a helping hand for those who are not able to do it," said Code Enforcement Supervisor André Niles.

Volunteers will go out in teams to district neighborhoods in Gainesville and Hall County — including Old Athens Street, Floyd Road, East Ridge Road, Patterson Drive and Black and Cooley drives — to clean up yards and public areas.

"I think it should be a great joint community effort," Niles said.

While many are cooperative and ready for help moving inoperable vehicles or junk from their yards, some people don’t want to clean up.

Niles said he has been trying to get two homeowners to clean up their property since April. One has finally agreed to let volunteers help him today.

Bell said the elderly Calvary Drive resident was reluctant to remove anything from his property for months but had a change of heart after a conversation with Niles.

"It’s going to be an instant benefit to the neighborhood," Bell said.

Homeowners who refuse help to comply with county code will receive tickets, Bell said.

"We’re down to our last resort," Bell said. "Which is the community pulling together and saying we’ll clean it up for you."

Bell said in the time that has passed since the event was originally scheduled, many people have been able to clean up on their own.

"A lot of people were able to get into voluntary compliance since then," Bell said. "Our cleanup is mostly going to be focused on fall cleanup."

Niles said he hopes the event will beautify the area and inspire people to keep their neighborhoods tidy.

"We have started an atmosphere of fall cleaning. We have started to get people to take a little more ownership in District 4," Niles said. "We can’t change the world on a Saturday morning, but we can give it a heck of a try."