By Ed Brock
It doesn't take Cecilia Penn long to think about things the Clayton County government can do to improve life in the Conley area.
Garbage pickup and sidewalks are issues, Penn said. So is the response time of police and ambulances called to the area off Old Conley Road that is right on the border with Fulton County.
"It takes so long for the police or ambulance to come because they don't know who should come," Penn said.
Discovering issues like that led Clayton County Commissioner Carl Rhodenizer to take a county van, load it with representatives from several county departments and take them on a tour of the area Tuesday morning. Joining Rhodenizer on the tour were Police Chief Darrell Partain, Andy Adams with the Department of Transportation and Development and Wayne Lee with Refuse Control.
The group explored a triangular tract of land defined by Jonesboro and Conley roads and the county's north border. Penn lives on Shieldcrest Way just south of that border.
Penn's 21-year-old daughter Natalie also had an issue the county could address.
"There's a bump down there," Natalie Penn said, pointing to nearby Conley Road. "People when they come around the curve they bump up too fast and bust their tires on the new curb."
The sidewalks are needed along Conley Road as well, Cecilia Penn said, for people walking from nearby apartment complexes to bus stops down the road.
"Fulton County did something about it last summer but Clayton County has to do something now," Penn said.
The neighborhood is a good one, store owner Mohammed "Frank" Islam said. Islam has owned the Handy Food store on Thurman Road for the past three years.
He'd like to see more police patrols, Islam said, and faster response times. Previously it had taken 10 minutes for police to respond to calls he had made.
"Anytime anything happens we need a quick response," Islam said.
And more streetlights would be good, too, Islam said.
The Clayton County Police Department patrols the area, which is a large coverage zone, as well as they can with current manpower, police Capt. Jeff Turner said.
Partain said that most of the issues the group found on their tour pertained to code enforcement and refuse control.
"It was a good tour to be with other department heads," Partain said.
Adams identified a few issues.
"Most of what we found was a lot of inoperable and abandoned cars," Adams said.
Lee could not be reached for comment.
Rhodenizer said he decided to have the tour after meeting with some property owner associations in the area that is in his district. He plans to hold another tour after three months and he hopes other county commissioners will conduct tours in their districts as well.