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Watch group to beautify area

ALBANY -- A Dougherty County neighborhood watch group is asking the County Commission for permission to beautify their part of the county in what they say is as much an effort to keep their homes safe as it is to boost aesthetics.

Members of the Southgate Neighborhood Watch Association were on hand during the Dougherty County Commission's Monday meeting to ask the county for permission plant trees and shrubbery along three medians on Southgate Avenue.

Funded through a $2,000 community development mini-grant awarded by Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, association members plan to plant 30 crape myrtles, 18 lantana plants and 30 muhly grasses.

"Anytime you can beautify and enhance your neighborhood, why wouldn't you?" Association member Willie Flood said. "It's really a pride thing. We are proud of where we live and are taking a role in our community."

Association member Barbara Dawson said that it also helps keep the neighborhood safe.

"My momma used to say that trash comes where trash is," Dawson said. "We think taking a little pride in our neighborhood and planting these trees will help keep our neighborhood safe because all the criminals and thugs will know that, at least in our community, we're looking out for each other."

KADB Executive Director Judy Bowles agreed.

"We've seen through these neighborhood associations that when neighborhoods are well lit, they're clean of litter and debris and even landscaped, that crime statistics go down," Bowles said.

Commissioners John Hayes and Muarlean Edwards led a chorus of accolades for the neighborhood group from the Commission.

"You all are to be commended for taking an active role in your community and neighborhood," Edwards said. "I wish we had more folks like you all."