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Rex Village site of Great American Cleanup

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Within the last year, several efforts have been made to restore the historic Rex Village area and make it a local attraction. This Saturday, the county will celebrate what is being called the Great American Cleanup, by removing trash, discarded tires, and other debris from the historic neighborhood.

The community event, which includes a parade, will take place at the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center, located at 3499 Rex Road, on Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m., to 2 p.m. Volunteers will begin the event with a parade from the recreation center to the historic Rex Village, followed by an organized cleanup effort led by Keep Clayton County Beautiful, Inc., and local public safety officials.

Edie Yongue, director of Keep Clayton County Beautiful, Inc., said Saturday's event is a part of the county's participation in the Great American Cleanup, a nationwide series of environmental activities taking place between March 1 and May 31. She said the event will give locals a chance to "engage themselves in personal responsibility for their environment."

"With all of this economic revitalization, we thought it [the historic Rex Village] would be a good place to have it," Yongue said. "That is such a quaint place, [however,] there are tires, a lot of paper products, lotto tickets, beer bottles, soft drinks, whatever people want to throw out of their window. We need to value the historical areas of the county."

Yongue said people who would like to participate in the parade must show up at the Carl Rhodenizer Recreation Center at 9 a.m., with banners or T-shirts representing their organization. Volunteers for the cleanup will be given gloves, trash bags, and other cleaning materials. Cleanup participants will not be allowed to wear open-toe shoes, she said.

Later this month, county residents holding on to hazardous waste materials, will be given a chance to dispose of them safely and conveniently. Also as a part of the Great American Cleanup, Keep Clayton County Beautiful Inc., and the Clayton County Water Authority, will host Free Household Hazardous Waste Amnesty Day on Saturday, April 24, from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m.

The event will take place at the W.B. Casey Water Reclamation Facility, located at 8890 Roberts Road in Jonesboro. Residents will be able to dispose of their old paint, batteries, cleaners, medications, aerosols, solvents, fluorescent bulbs, cooking grease, pesticides, and fire extinguishers -- free of charge.

Water Authority Storm Water Utility Manager Kevin Osbey said that during last year's Amnesty Day, 525 vehicles dropped off 117,000 pounds of waste. He said that properly disposing of waste will help improve overall water quality and keep the cost of treatment down.

"Customers often have these items stored in their garage or basement, and aren't really sure what to do with them," Osbey said. "If these materials are poured down drains, the workers at our water reclamation facilities will need to use more enhanced techniques and more treatment chemicals ... This results in increased cost for treatment. If the water quality of a stream is degraded, animals using and living in that segment can't survive.

"On April 24, they can load it all up and drop it off at our amnesty event free of charge," he said. "We had a great turnout last year, and are hoping to see even more customers at the event this year."

Amnesty day participants will be required to show proof of Clayton residency, such as a driver's license or water bill, according to organizers. For more information, call Keep Clayton County Beautiful, Inc., at (770) 473-5996.