Douglas County has taken the first steps to become one of 620 community-based Keep American Beautiful (KAB) affiliates. If certified as an affiliate, it be named Keep Douglas County Beautiful.

This will become a second KAB affiliate, along with the city's Keep Douglasville Beautiful, which was established in March 2001.

The idea was planted by Douglas County Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones, said Tiffany Stewart-Stanley, director of external affairs for Douglas County, while the chairman was driving around the county and saw litter along the roadside.

"You know how the chairman hates litter," she said.

So Stewart-Stanley, at the request of Jones, began doing research to find a program that would help both educate the citizens and beautify the county.

The external affairs director began talking with representatives from Keep Georgia Beautiful (KGB) and Keep America Beautiful, as well as reaching out to Keep Douglasville Beautiful Executive Director Chan Weeks, who runs the city-sponsored program, to discuss a possible merger.

It was decided that the city's program had been operational too long and was too well-established on its own to make a merger feasible.

Keep Douglasville Beautiful will continue to operate its programs within the city of Douglasville, while Keep Douglas County Beautiful will focus on the unincorporated part of the county.

"We do plan to collaborate on big projects, such as the Great American Cleanup," said Stewart-Stanley, who will coordinate the program for the county.

The county just got the OK by Keep America Beautiful to apply to become an affiliate, and now must go through a number of steps to make it official.

"They don't want too many affiliates working in the same area," Stewart-Stanley said.

One of the criteria for affiliation was to set up a public information booth in the community.

This was done at the September Saturdays festival on Sept. 30, where Douglas County citizens could stop by the designated booth, obtain information and sign up to become a Keep Douglas County Beautiful volunteer.

"The goal is to set up Volunteer Douglas as an umbrella for all county volunteers," Stewart-Stanley said.

A required community pre-certification training workshop will be held on Oct. 25 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Citizens' Hall at the Douglas County Courthouse, and is open to the public. This training is required for Douglas County to obtain its certification with Keep America Beautiful.

An additional session will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for members of the certification team, however, anyone interested in participating is invited to attend.

"The Douglas County Board of Commissioners is committed to inspiring and educating the citizens to take action and ownership each day to enhance and beautify our community," said Jones. "The Keep Douglas County Beautiful campaign will carry the clean and green narrative. Stakeholders such as Solicitor General Mathew Krull, along with the sheriff's office, code enforcement and external affairs departments are enthusiastic about promoting this initiative."

Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful campaign provides expertise programs and resources to help promote recycling, end littering, and beautify America's communities.

For more information on how to become a volunteer, contact Stewart-Stanley at tstewartstanley@co.douglas.ga.us.

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