The Union Recorder

November 13, 2013

Keep Milledgeville-Baldwin Beautiful back to clean up town

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — After a long hiatus, the Keep Milledgeville-Baldwin Beautiful (KMBB) project is alive once again.

KMBB had its first Community Cleanup Day Saturday, sprucing up the stretch of road between the Baldwin County Airport and U.S. Highway 441. 

With the support of the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Young Professionals, KMBB restarted as an affiliate of the nationwide program Keep America Beautiful. The reinvigorated mission is to keep Milledgeville and Baldwin County beautiful through various programs, events and community activities. 

Executive Director for the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Development Authority Matt Poyner said in the past the authority ran the KMBB affiliate, but couldn’t keep it going.

“The Chamber Young Professionals network has picked it back up,” Poyner said. “I’m excited to be able to work with those guys. They have great leadership to move this initiative forward.”

Andrew Davis, the new director of KMBB, said the Young Professionals took on the idea as its philanthropy group. The recent Thriller 5k and Fun Run at the Oconee River Greenway proceeds of $2,500 helped kick start the chapter.

“Some members of the Young Professionals contacted me to see if I was interested in taking the position of the executive director,” Davis said. “I look at it as an opportunity to have a good organizational job right out of college.” 

The Young Professionals and the Georgia College Environmental Science Club hosted the weekend airport area event.

“As we go through with these cleanups, we are going to have a sponsoring organization from the community,” Davis said.

The Development Authority and the Baldwin County Airport Advisory Committee have been planning ways to improve the “first impression” of Milledgeville that visitors experience when arriving. 

Key industrial prospects and those visiting current industry, do not travel by car. Instead, they arrive on the 5,000 feet of runway at the airport, according to Airport Advisory Committee Chair Jim Wolfgang. 

Davis and other board members reached out Poyner recently. The airport gateway cleanup was necessary.

“This was the first step in cleaning up our pathway to the industrial park. We have to show well,” Poyner said. “Activity is picking up, and I don’t want to drive them around town and have trash everywhere. That first impression people get of Baldwin County is hopefully being a clean area.”

GC students, Young Professionals, Airport Advisory Committee members and others made up around 30 volunteers Saturday.

Davis said “it was a wonderful turnout.”

The area near the Jet Food Store on Log Cabin Road looked “tremendous” after a 45-minute cleanup, according to Poyner.

The KMBB chapter will focus the rest of 2013 formalizing its organizational setup for a full blast to open next year.

“Right now, we are using the rest of this year to see through our incorporation and secure our status as a nonprofit organization. We hope to start off the New Year organizing many more of these community cleanups as well as advancing other programming,” Davis said.

Poyner is excited to work with the KMBB chapter. Future cleanups around Highway 22 and the industrial park will help set Milledgeville apart.

Trash doesn’t show well.

“If (prospects) go to another county and we have the same resources and opportunities yet that county is clean that might be the difference. We’ve got to put ourselves on a pedestal,” the development authority director said. “We’ve got to be able to say we have a clean town. It goes farther than people realize. These people are investing hundreds of millions of dollars, and they want to make sure they are in a community that takes pride in itself.”

If any person or organization has inquiries or wants to contact KMBB, the affiliate can be reached through Facebook.

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