Orphan Dalton roads need adoptive caretakers

Story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/mar/18/orphan-dalton-roads-need-adoptive-caretakers/ 

Written By: Kelly Jackson

DALTON, Ga. -- Starting in the 1990s, Adopt-a-Mile volunteers kept as many as 50 miles in Whitfield County clean. But now, far fewer roads have doting volunteers.

In 2009, volunteers cared for about 10 miles. So far in 2010, only four miles have been officially adopted. But Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful is pushing for more.

"(The program's) just been neglected, and we're just really trying to revitalize (it)," said Liz Swafford, executive director of Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful.

Ms. Swafford said the program improves the environment and people are less likely to dump trash on clean roadways.

"Litter cleanups are preventative, and it's just a huge benefit to everybody," she said.

Volunteers are asked to clean litter from their mile at least four times a year. Participants get an Adopt-A-Mile sign on their stretch of roadway. Participation is free.

Danny Welch, corporate environmental health and safety manager for Textile Rubber and Chemical Co., said employees clean the road in front of the business on Connector 3 from its intersection with Highway 41 to Interstate 75.

Employees usually collect six to eight large trash bags on a cleanup day, he said. It gives them a "sense of accomplishment and community pride," he said.


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Denise Wood, a board member with Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful, said members hope not only to gain new participants but to re-energize some who were active in the past.

"We just want to get people back on board," she said. "Litter is a big problem."