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Job One For EAV: Beautification

Neighborhood leaders launch new cleaning program to beautify the central business district.

EAST ATLANTA — Part of the Village's hipster appeal is its gritty rough-'round-the-edges look.

But Kate Crosby, who heads the East Atlanta Community Association's recycling efforts, says that doesn't mean it has to be dirty.

It explains EACA's beautification effort, project "Clean EAV," to spruce up the neighborhood's central business and entertainment corridor.

EACA tapped Above All Cleaners, the company tasked with keeping the grounds of the Edgewood Retail District litter free, to do the same for the Village.

So starting Jan. 18, the company will come to the Village three days a week — pick up trash and other refuse. The agreement, which costs $12,000 for the year, calls for Above All Cleaners to come two different times on the days it is scheduled to clean.

The cost will be paid for by a grant, which EACA is matching, along with the newly reconstituted East Atlanta Business Association.

The focus is core Village area — Flat Shoals Avenue from Metropolitan to May avenues and Glenwood Avenue from Haas to Moreland avenues, Crosby explained.

The company also will clean out the trash bins, pressure wash streets and lots and remove graffiti as part of its agreement with the neighborhood.

Admittedly, the effort means that the neighborhood is taking on a service that residents already are paying for via their property taxes.

But Crosby and the rest of EACA's leadership, who sat down with East Atlanta Patch Thursday to discuss the beautification efforts, said the community can't keep waiting for something that's not happening.

"It's just not getting done, so whatever breakdown is happening, it's not getting done," she said, explaining that not doing anything at all simply fosters a perception that it can't be fixed.

"To me, we could spend a lot effort and time trying to point the finger, but we're the ones who live here. Making it happen for people, gets people used to a clean neighborhood."

Additionally, taking it on directly, allows residents to have direct ownership in its success, said Ted Bradford, EACA vice president.

"Trying to get people to pay taxes toward this nebulous idea of 'I'm going to get services' is difficult. Citywide, people always think, 'oh, my money is going to go somewhere else,' " Bradford said.

"If you keep it hyper-local, people are willing to pay something if they know exactly what exactly it's going for and they can see its direct result."

Village area businesses have done their own cleaning projects over the years but the involvement has been uneven with some taking the stance that much of the mess is caused by nighttime visitors to the bars and restaurants.

This effort is designed to bypass those differences, Kevin Spigener, EACA president, said.

Besides, a cleaner Village, which is what most visitors to the neighborhood come to, leaves a better overall impression about the community, he said.

Letting it go as is leaves the idea that no one cares and creates an impression that other quality of life issues such as graffiti and crime won't be challenged, Spigener said.

Besides, one of the hopes is that a cleaner central business district will make more attractive for new shops retail investment, he said.

"We all want to live in a clean place that we call home. The EAV is our home, it's all about first impressions," Spigener said.

"We still have our businesses that are here and those residents that live here — we all have a stake in this."

conchita del mundo February 12, 2013 at 09:27 PM
meeeeaaaa waaaaaaah. ugh. sounds like you need to find a new neighborhood, chris.
Chris Murphy February 12, 2013 at 09:48 PM
I don't live in that neighborhood- nor would I. I still don't see where shop owners have rights to take over public right-of-way- and in one case block most of the access to the corner. You want to get personal, put your real name up there, jackass.
Kaboodle Home February 16, 2013 at 05:19 PM
There are some businesse owners and property owners who have spent thousands of hours cleaning the sidewalks, streets, and parking lots in the Village over the years and there are some who havent lifted a finger. It is true that most of the trash comes from the people who are here at the bars at night not from the daytime businesses. But like Kevin Springer said it doesnt do any good to point fingers. I spent years cleaning up the parking lot next to my business becasue the owner Abe Asher is a slum lord and wont do anythin. Sometimes its easier to just do it rather than try to get someone else to do it.
Kaboodle Home February 16, 2013 at 05:22 PM
You can't clump all the business and property owners togetherr. Some do their part and some don't. If you want to know who does and who doesnt then get involved in EACA or EABA.
Péralte Paul February 16, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Well, legally, their property lines include a portion of the sidewalk, Chris. Not in every case, but that's usually the reason.

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