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NEAT neighborhoods and COVID-19
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Since March, COVID-19 has been in the news and has changed the way we do business.  For Keep Liberty Beautiful, that meant finding ways we can still do our programs and keep volunteers and staff safe. During the Great American Cleanup, we will follow CDC-issued guidelines related to large gathers. We have also implemented additional precautions to ensure our cleanup events are as safe as possible!  In addition to using hand sanitizer, we have made it mandatory to disinfecting all litter reachers after each use. 

While it is not required to have every volunteer wear a mask and gloves, we will encourage it. Additionally, our KLB staff and Site Leaders will be instructed in registration site cleanliness and disinfecting technique. KLB Staff and Site Leaders will be notified not to come to a cleanup site with even the slightest of symptoms. We also remain in constant contact with Keep American Beautiful and the Liberty County Health Department to stay current with the latest updates and recommendations.  

Another way to keep everyone safe is to keep cleanup groups small, so we are looking into promoting our NEAT Neighborhoods Program more. We are looking for more volunteer leaders in our community.  We want volunteers that have a desire to be involved in making their neighborhoods the best that they can be.  The Keep Liberty Beautiful program, NEAT Neighborhoods, acknowledges neighborhood efforts and can provide some supplies, tools, and recognition for many neighborhood projects. 

So, sign up if you are interested in improving your neighborhood, proud of your community, and trying to keep it clean, attractive, and safe.  The word ‘safe’ may not seem to fit with the adjectives ‘clean and attractive.’ Still, research often referred to as the ‘broken windows theory’ supports the fact that, more often than not, clean and well-maintained neighborhoods are safer with fewer incidents of vandalism and other more serious crimes. A NEAT Neighborhood Leader is a person that would come together with their neighbors to achieve a goal of a better neighborhood. 

We have many neighborhood leaders in our county that are making a choice to create change where they live. Each NEAT Neighborhoods program leader makes sure their neighbors come together periodically to pick up litter and clean up or beautify their neighborhood entrances.  They have also helped to identify illegal dumps in the wooded areas around Liberty County.  

The NEAT Neighborhoods Program is a KLB program designed to provide support and recognition to these neighborhoods!  What is a NEAT Neighborhood?  

N - They never take the appearance of their neighborhood for granted.

E - They encourage their homeowners to take pride in their own yards, the roads, and the entryways to their community.

A - They always keep their yards and streets clean.

T - They tell everyone that they care about where they live by making it look beautiful!

Wouldn’t we all prefer to live in a NEAT Neighborhood?  The NEAT Neighborhoods program offers recognition of the neighborhood’s improvement and cleanup projects each quarter. We provide an entry sign for each neighborhood that has a cleanup or improvement project to display at their community entrance.  It is a small gesture, but one that, I hope, encourages all who enter each neighborhood to help keep it clean and attractive.  

We can also help by loaning cleanup supplies and equipment and, at times, providing resources for unique community improvement projects ideas. So, join in on some neat activities where you live or start an improvement effort in your neighborhood yourself. Every neighborhood needs that one person who will step up and encourage others to take ownership of their community. Our goal is to have as many neighborhoods as possible to participate in community improvement efforts. 

We all seem to take better care of things when we assume ownership of them. It seems to be the same for communities, for roads and streets, and for neighborhoods.  When we take ownership of public areas, surprisingly, everyone seems to respect those areas and to treat them better. Like I said, neighborhoods that are taken care of are not only cleaner, of course, but statistically have less vandalism and other crimes. 

That is an excellent reason all by itself to step up and make a difference.  Any neighborhood interested in holding a cleanup or an improvement day can give us a call at (912) 880- 4888 or emailing us at klcb@libertycountyga.com. 

On Saturday, August 15, 2020, there is another Great American Cleanup in Liberty County.  

You can sign up on our website www.keeplibertybeautiful.org, or contact us at (912) 880- 4888 or klcb@libertycountyga.com.


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