Keep VaHi Beautiful Volunteers Have Successful Clean-Up Day

By: Kay Stephenson

As the sky slowly lightened on a recent crisp fall morning in Virginia-Highland, volunteers assembled in the parking lots at the south end of the neighborhood. Tools were unloaded, bags and gloves donated by Keep Atlanta Beautiful were distributed, and, to the sounds of a leaf blower doing its thing outside Neighbor’s Pub, we were off.

From the MARTA stop on the north side of Ponce De Leon Avenue to the triangle at N. Highland and Virginia avenues, volunteers picked up bag after bag of bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts and the assorted detritus that accumulates every day in our neighborhood. We whacked, raked, and sprayed weeds, and scraped off stickers while saying a big thank you to Intown Ace Hardware for donating scrapers.

Graffiti Task Force volunteers worked for hours to remove tags on three sides of the Hilan Theater building, and to repaint metal doors and dumpsters.  Kudos once more to Intown Ace for providing supplies and to Atkins Park and Surin for the use of their water.

Both the streetscape and the parking lots received much attention, including a few spots that haven’t seen any love for a very long time. Wellspring Treasures coordinated the participation of a youth group from Peachtree Presbyterian Church, and the kids were a bundle of energy making short work of the alley that runs between St. Charles and Greenwood. The pictures tell the clean-up tale better than any words can (see below).

When we were finished (for this day, as this is an on-going effort), Surin of Thailand had a delicious hot lunch waiting for us, and we all tucked in upstairs at the Indie-pendent. The best part is the knowledge that many business owners have made the commitment to keep their part of the neighborhood looking great. Some that could not join us for Saturday’s event still made an extra effort to get their own property ship shape for our clean-up day.

The Graffiti Task Force and the Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful team want to thank our volunteers and contributors for such a fun and productive event. We look forward to continued improvements to both commercial and residential areas of Virginia-Highland, and hope that the next time we plan an event the whole neighborhood can join in!

Here are pictures of the walls of the Hilan Theatre prior to graffiti removal:

And here are pictures of the same walls, after graffiti removal:

Graffiti Task Force chair Laura Voisinet works on a dumpster in the area behind the Hilan Theatre.
Volunteer David Berl scrubs down a wall of the Hilan Theatre building.
Volunteer Jimmy Lee needs a ladder to reach an especially bad section of graffiti on one of the Hilan Theatre walls.
Graffiti fighters John Wolfinger and Jimmy Lee take a break for some fun with the sprayer.

Here are some pictures of the trash-strewn areas around the St. Charles commercial node prior to clean-up:

And here are the same areas post clean-up:

Weed abatement specialist Bob Coomes – decked out in his best Louisville Cardinal red and with a jug of Roundup in hand – did his best to eradicate invasives along N. Highland from Ponce to the triangle at Virginia Avenue. Here are shots of Bob in action:

Volunteer Roger Harris cleans-up under a bench at the triangle while Bob Coomes chases down more pesky weeds.
No piece of trash escapes volunteer Roger Harris' discerning eye.
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