Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful con­ducts com­mu­nity ap­pear­ance in­dex

The Covington News - - NEWS - SANDRA BRANDS sbrands@cov­news.com

While the scores weren’t per­fect, they were pretty good.

Lau­rie Ri­ley, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful (KCNB), said that the an­nual lit­ter sur­vey showed that the ar­eas of New­ton County had low in­dex num­bers, show­ing the area isn’t all that trashy.

A re­quire­ment of Keep Amer­ica Beau­ti­ful, the com­mu­nity ap­pear­ance in­dex, or “lit­ter in­dex,” scores ar­eas for things like il­le­gal signs, graf­fiti, junk cars and out­side stor­age.

“It’s a wind­shield sur­vey,” Ri­ley said. “We drive around and note what we see. It’s rated on a scale from 1 to 4 – one is no lit­ter at all; four is ex­tremely lit­tered. Four would be con­sid­ered an il­le­gal dump site.”

Ri­ley said KCNB has been sur­vey­ing the county for 16 years. “Our high­est lit­ter in­dex was 1.87, our low­est 1.22.” This year’s the lit­ter in­dex was 1.28.

For the first 15 years, the same ar­eas were sur­veyed. This year, KCNB asked Keep Amer­ica Beau­ti­ful to let them change what they sur­veyed. The or­ga­ni­za­tion agreed.

“We use GIS [Geo­graphic In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem depart­ment for Cov­ing­ton-New­ton County] map­ping to ran­domly se­lect seg­ments of road­ways that we drive.”

Fif­teen ar­eas are se­lected ran­domly from each of the five com­mis­sioner districts in the county. Vol­un­teers score the dif­fer­ent ar­eas while Ri­ley drives. “We had two scor­ers for each time, eight vol­un­teers in all. GIS comes with us to help nav­i­gate,” she said.

“Since GIS has been help­ing us, we’ve been a lot more ef­fi­cient. They help us route so we’re not spend­ing a whole lot of time driv­ing to the dif­fer­ent seg­ment,” she said. “Be­fore we had that tech­nol­ogy, we used pa­per maps to find the best way to go, but it took a lot longer.”

This year, the sur­vey took a to­tal of eight hours over three days.

Ar­eas sur­veyed were a mix of residential, com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial. The re­sult­ing lit­ter score was 1.66, slightly higher than last year’s 1.28 score. “We thought it would be a lot higher.”

“We think it’s a great score,” Ri­ley said. “We’re proud that it was this good, es­pe­cially graf­fiti. We have vir­tu­ally no graf­fiti in our county – [there are] very iso­lated in­ci­dents. All the other indices were much lower than the lit­ter in­dex.”

KCNB use the re­sults of the Keep Amer­i­can Beau­ti­ful sur­vey to set goals and de­velop ef­fec­tive com­mu­nity im­prove­ment ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams to raise the aware­ness of lit­ter pre­ven­tion.

The 1.28 score on the in­dex is a me­dian of five dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. New­ton County re­ceived a score of 1.66 in lit­ter, 1.10 in il­le­gal signs, 1.02 in graf­fiti, 1.19 in junk cares and 1.23 in out­side junk.

KCNB con­tin­ues to reg­u­larly en­hance the health, safety and eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity of Cov­ing­ton and New­ton County by em­pow­er­ing hun­dreds of lo­cal vol­un­teers to take greater re­spon­si­bil­ity for lit­ter pre­ven­tion and cleanup, re­cy­cling, waste min­i­miza­tion and all forms of beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and com­mu­nity im­prove­ment.

To learn more about KCNB vol­un­teer and spon­sor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties, email new­ton­clean@co.new­ton.ga.us or call 770-784-2015.

To re­port lit­ter and il­le­gal dump­sites in un­in­cor­po­rated New­ton County, please call the Code En­force­ment Hot­line at 678-625-1666 or visit www.co.new­ton.ga.us and click on “On­line Ser­vices” to elec­tron­i­cally sub­mit Code En­force­ment com­plaints.

Sub­mit­ted photo | The Cov­ing­ton News

Keep Cov­ing­ton/Beau­ti­ful staff and vol­un­teers ex­cit­edly hit the road on June 22 to fin­ish scor­ing lit­ter, graf­fiti and junk ve­hi­cles on roads across New­ton County as part of the Com­mu­nity Ap­pear­ance In­dex.

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