Volunteers spruce up their neighborhoods

NORCROSS - Doug Mohme of Duluth is fighting graffiti with a shovel.

"We are planting trees to make the neighborhood nicer," said Doug, 13.

Doug, his classmate Fendall Laughlin and father Chip Mohme were digging and planting day lilies and loropetalum, a green shrub also known as Chinese witch hazel, in front of a brown fence along Mitchell Road in Norcross.

Volunteers picked up litter, removed graffiti and landscaped in front of fences in Norcross and along Oakland Road in Lawrenceville as part of Saturday's Great Neighborhood Cleanup.

"The plants serve to restrict access to the fences, which have been painted dark brown to look uniform and less likely to be tagged with graffiti," said Connie Wiggins, director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful.

Sponsors for the cleanup included Coca-Cola, Waste Management, Sam's Club, Spitfire Media Group, the Norcross Cooperative Ministry and Imagescapes, which provided trucks and heavy equipment for volunteers to spread mulch.

Workers also stenciled over storm-drain covers with no dumping signs.

The signs also include a picture of a fish to remind people where the trash in storm drains ends up.

Wiggins hopes that Saturday's effort will motivate people to volunteer to take care of their neighborhoods and communities.