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Lee resident adopts, cleans messy street

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

LEESBURG, Ga. -- Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy had a quick answer for Billy Brown when Brown came before the board at its last meeting to ask for permission to "adopt" the street he lives on.

"Tell your friends," Duffy said.

Despite having to jump through required governmental hoops, Brown, a sales representative for Albany Tractor Co., said Monday it's worth it to him to keep the area around his home -- on Cedric Street -- free of debris.

"Cedric's in a high-traffic area, and every morning when I get up to go to work there are usually three or four beer bottles and other trash in or near our yard," said Brown, who also partners with John Salter in their It's A Party weekend inflatables business. "My son and I always pick up the litter around our yard, and we noticed there was just as much at our neighbors'.

"So we started going around and picking the trash up in our neighborhood. I figured if nothing else it would make the community a better place to live."

When he discovered there is no adopt-a-street program in Lee County, Brown decided to get the ball rolling. He went before the commission at its Jan. 25 meeting and was given enthusiastic approval to pursue the matter.

Subsequently, Brown talked with Lee Public Works Director Mike Sistrunk about any guidelines or restrictions to moving forward with the adoption process.

"We thought it was a great idea," Sistrunk said Monday. "Maybe people in other subdivisions will see what Mr. Brown is doing and do something similar. It certainly helps us out given our limited resources.

"We told him that he'll need to make sure anyone picking up litter along the road is wearing a vest to increase visibility, and if he decides to put up a sign, he'll have to meet the restrictions of the county's sign ordinance. Also, he'll have to let us know if he plans to plant anything along the street."

Brown said he does plan to put up a sign acknowledging his efforts to keep Cedric -- and his neighborhood -- clean.

"I'll have to go back before the commission," he said. "I contacted DOT (about placing a sign on the street), and they said they had no restrictions because it's not their street.

"Honestly, this is something I assumed someone was already doing. I know they have a program like this in Dougherty County, so now maybe some more folks will follow suit here. I just went to Ellijay (in north Georgia) over the weekend, and it hit me that there was no trash anywhere in the city. It looks so much neater because here, people just toss their trash out the window. Hopefully, our efforts will lead to some changes."