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Tough litter laws in Athens lead to cleanup, complaints

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — The city's tougher stance on litter, junk and weeds has folks responding in different ways.

The eighth-grade talented and gifted science class at Athens Middle adopted the Town Creek area in front of the old Kroger building on Jefferson Street, cleaned it and plans to do more public involvement.

Flea market and restaurant owner George Hill is asking voters to write him in for mayor next year because he is upset with what he calls unfair treatment.

Horseshoe Bend neighborhood residents say they cannot get enough enforcement.

All three entities spoke at Monday's Athens City Council meeting.

The students presented a report on its project called ESPN, which stands for Everyone Stop Polluting Now. The class has picked up more than 20 bags of trash at Town Creek.

Hill commended the students and said he wants a clean community but feels police are picking on him. Hill said the flea market he owns on Elm Street should fall under the ordinance's exemption for licensed junk dealers.

Hill said he has received two citations since October, but the cited equipment was behind the buildings, out of sight from the road. It included restaurant equipment needed for the Elm Street Diner adjacent to the flea market.

Councilwoman Milly Caudle said the items were neatly stacked when she saw them, and she looked at other areas that Hill pointed out were in violation. The CSX Railroad property on Elm Street, for example, has high weeds, she said.

Council President Harold Wales said he will schedule a meeting with Police Chief Wayne Harper and Hill to discuss the concerns and make sure everyone is getting fair treatment on citations.

Residents from Horseshoe Bend off Hastings Road said they need more officers in their neighborhood. They said development of new homes has led to littering and a broken entrance sign. Developer Ronnie Malone said he would fix the sign.

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