LAWRENCEVILLE -- The city of Lawrenceville is getting serious about getting clean.
Bringing in the help of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, representatives from the city council, police force and Lawrenceville Neighborhood Association -- as well as State Rep. Valerie Clark -- recently took a ride in a van. Driving around the city for the better part of eight hours, each person was responsible for scoring certain aspects of certain areas of Lawrenceville.
Graffiti, litter, property maintenance and illegal signs were all scored. In the end, officials were pleasantly surprised.
"You know what? Lawrenceville looked really good," Connie Wiggins of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful said. "There's some areas for improvement, but it looked surprisingly well."
During that van-ride survey, each spot was ranked in each category on a scale from 1 (very clean) to 4 (very dirty). Overall, all categories were below an average of 1.86. Graffiti came in at an even 1.
It's good, but could be even better. Like any city, there are still certain sore spots throughout the community.
"Some of our city looks tired and worn out," said Beverly Dryden of the Lawrenceville Neighborhood Association. "The landscaping is not there, and if it is it's shrubbery that's half-dead. It distorts the (overall) picture."
Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful and the city have now honed in on four major areas that need (and will hopefully get) attention:
-- The area near the intersection of Maltbie Street and Curtis Road
-- The shopping center at the intersection of Ga. Highway 124 and Gwinnett Drive
-- The Ga. Highway 120/Pike Street "entrance" into the city's downtown
-- The area between Ezzard Street and Pine Valley Lane
Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson said efforts are in the works for the city's lacking areas. Wiggins said "it's all about continuing to improve and get better."
"Litter, graffiti, not maintained properties, properties that have stuff just overflowing out in the yard," Wiggins said. "They become magnets for more of those things to occur."
One of the city's newest initiatives is hoping to combat all those things as well. The city council recently approved $20,000 worth of grants that will be awarded to neighborhoods for "beautification projects." Awarded on a merit basis and requiring a match on behalf of the recipient, the goal is to help neighborhoods help themselves, Johnson said.
While the project likely won't dish out its first award until January, it's in the works and another effort the city of Lawrenceville is making to project a neater image.
"We want you to take pride in your neighborhood," Johnson said. "Just like we want to take pride in our city."
The city council recently approved $20,000 worth of grants that will be awarded to neighborhoods or other entities in the city for "beautification projects." While the ball probably won't get rolling until after the first of the year, Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson said it's definitely coming, and will definitely be a big deal.