Photo by Jim Massara
Forest Park planning director Al Wiggins and Keep Forest Park Beautiful executive director Edie Yongue work together on grants to publicize the new recycling program and its Keep America Beautiful affiliate.
Forest Park residents will have curbside recycling in June, and two grants secured through Keep Forest Park Beautiful will help put out the word.
The first grant — $5,000 from Waste Management, the city’s sanitation provider, as part of its Think Green program — was presented to Keep Forest Park Beautiful at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. A second Keep America Beautiful grant for $1,000, administered through UPS, was awarded last month.
Combined, the two grants will fund newsletters, pamphlets, reusable shopping bags, keychains and even flower-seed packets to publicize the new recycling programs and environmental awareness. All handouts will be printed in both English and Spanish.
“There are going to be a lot of questions, and we want to answer them,” said Edie Yongue, executive director of Keep Forest Park Beautiful and a 27-year veteran of Clayton County’s Keep America Beautiful affiliate, recently defunded by the county.
Forest Park planning director Al Wiggins wrote the proposal for the second grant in his spare time “over a glass of wine and me sitting with my laptop,” he said with a smile.
The impetus for applying was just as informal.
“I was telling Edie about this grant,” said Wiggins, who serves on Keep Forest Park Beautiful’s board, “and she said, ‘OK, go apply for it, put your money where your mouth is.’ ”
Yongue laughed as Wiggins told the story, and then added, tongue clearly in cheek, “He works with me more than he’d like to.” Wiggins smiled back and replied, “Not true.”
The educational grants are intended only for Forest Park — in fact, Forest Park is the only Clayton County city with its own Keep America Beautiful affiliate — but they may have a “halo effect” on the rest of the county, Wiggins said. The free cloth shopping bags, for example, may be available anywhere from government buildings to grocery stores, he said, and they “will get attention.”
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community improvement and education organization, promotes programs to reduce litter and encourage recycling. The non-profit organization is best known to the public for its iconic ads in the 1970s showing a Native American crying over a littered landscape.