Operation Good Neighbor Community Workday

DULUTH -- Knock, Knock. Who's there?

For residents living in communities with abundant foreclosures this is not a joke.

Aside from the personal effects it can have, what impacts does foreclosure have on the community?

Gwinnett County Clean and Beautiful has noticed a domino effect and in a press release said, "These homes and empty lots often become eyesores, reducing neighborhood property values and inviting crime."

As a part of its mission to find long-term solutions to environmental and quality of life issues, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful will hold a community workday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at 30 work sites along Burns Road in Lilburn and Cruse Road in Lawrenceville and in an abandoned subdivision on Meadow Church Road in Duluth.

In conjunction with Gwinnett County code enforcement and the Community Appearance Index, the work sites were identified as having large amounts of graffiti, litter and abandoned homes.

The workday is part of the organization's new initiative, Operation Good Neighbor, which "targets specifically the cleanup of chronically vacant, abandoned and neglected properties."

Connie Wiggins, executive director of Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, said Operation Good Neighbor will be more than a one-time workday and will include events throughout the year.

Wiggins predicts about 300 volunteers including Gwinnett County Public School students, area churches, neighborhood homeowners associations, Georgia Power employees, and Rotary Club members to pitch in Saturday.

Although the workday is a part of the Great American Cleanup, program director, Angie Newlin said the specific goal of the event is to engage community members so that they get a sense of ownership and are able to sustain the improvements.

Wiggins advocated for the workday as being an opportunity to see immediate and visible differences in the community.