VOLUNTEERS from throughout Grady County took part in an annual clean-up program around the Ochlockonee River in south Grady County on Saturday. Volunteers who took part in the event last weekend were, not in any order, Gina Bell, Johnny Bell, John David Bell, Vicky Redden, Mark Phillips, Jan Bordelon, Celeste Tyler, Cheryl Mills, Allison Rathel, Maelee Sellers, Margaret Tyson, Julie Shutters, James Andrews, Delia Andrews, and Alyssa Blakley.
A City of Cairo official hopes to build on the success of an annual clean-up project to tackle litter issues in Cairo and Grady County by harnessing volunteer manpower and interest to create civic pride.
Alyssa Blakley, who serves in multiple roles for the city including the executive director of Keep Cairo/Grady County Beautiful, appeared before the Cairo City Council Monday night to update city fathers on the recent Rivers Alive clean-up project and her plans for future clean-up initiatives.
According to Blakley, in just over an hour-and-a-half a team of 15 volunteers picked up 21 bags of trash, a mattress, a chair and a tire from around the GA 83 bridge and the Hadley Ferry boat landing on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Due to the level of the river, the group was unable to clean-up this year around the GA 93 boat ramp.
“In talking with the volunteers over lunch following the clean-up I learned that there is an interest in our community to help clean-up our entire community,” Blakley told the city council.
She said her goal, as head of the Keep Cairo-Grady County Beautiful is to organize frequent clean-up events, possibly monthly, that would provide volunteers from throughout the community the opportunity to help clean-up public land and public rights-of-way in the community.
Blakley says the clean-up events would not be limited to just Cairo, but would include the entire county, focusing on what she called problem areas.
The city official said she was inspired by a new resident to Cairo who read about the Rivers Alive event in The Cairo Messenger and came out to help.
“If we clean up some of these problem areas hopefully it will motivate others to clean up their own property, too, and help keep the community clean. We can at least try it and see how it works,” she said.
Cairo City Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said the city had organized a couple of clean-up days in the past that included private citizens as well as city forces. “This would be a good thing to get back. I think a lot of people would be interested in doing it,” Douglas said.
Councilman Jerry Cox also voiced his support for Blakley’s plan. “This is a good initiative,” Cox said.
Blakley is asking civic clubs, school groups, businesses, and local citizens who might be interested in volunteering for future clean-up programs to contact her at (229) 377-1722, ext. 185.
Keep Cairo-Grady County Beautiful partners with the Ochlockoneee River Water Trail and Golden Triangle RC&D for the Rivers Alive project, which is a program of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources.
Volunteers were provided neon vests, equipment and bags to pick up litter as well as a free lunch and souvenir Rivers Alive neck gaiters.
Volunteers who took part in the event last weekend were Gina Bell, Johnny Bell, John David Bell, Vicky Redden, Mark Phillips, Jan Bordelon, Celeste Tyler, Cheryl Mills, Allison Rathel, Maelee Sellers, Margaret Tyson, Julie Shutters, James Andrews, Delia Andrews, and Alyssa Blakley.