Giving Back to Community as Easy as One, Two, Adopt

Dr. Tim Gibson knows what it means to give back to the community. Not only does he own his own family practice business, but he keeps the outside clean too. By adopting a bus stop near his office, Dr. Gibson exemplifies what it is to be a community leader.

 

“I think its important to not only get your name out there, but to help make [Athens] a better place,” Dr. Gibson, who runs his own family medicine practice off Prince Avenue, said. “If our community is not attractive, business will not flourish.”

 

Adopt Athens, a program that promotes community support, has seen an increase in adoptions since the middle of last year. Adoptions they offer include highways, streams, parks and bus stops.

 

“People are still giving contrary to what the economy is doing,” said Stacee Farrell, the executive director of Keep Athens-Clark County Beautiful. “As long as people are still giving their time and resources, we are a strong community.”

 

 

Farrell oversees the adoption process and monitors which organizations register. A group or organization can adopt their choice of property, and for one year must clean or maintain the area. The adoption site can be renewed for as many years after, but have a year minimum.

 

“It is free to adopt a site, but Mayor Heidi Davison must approve the cleaning proposal and organization’s validity,” Farrell said. “Just about every organization gets approved, but there is a formal process.”

 

First, an organization must fill out paperwork called a Scope of Services Form. This explains who they are, what they intend to do with the site, and how long they plan on keeping it. The site then goes to the mayor and then back to Stacee Farrell.

 

From there, the approved proposal is sent to either the Athens Transit or the Solid Waste Department to plan the sign or name construction: either a road sign or a stand-alone sign is put up with the organization’s name.

 

So far, three organizations/persons have newly adopted in 2009. Dr. Gibson is one of them, and plans on renewing his bus stop every year.

 

 

Adopt Athens has been around for at least fifteen years, said Pat Hale, operations superintendent for Athens Transit. She runs the Adopt a Bus Stop program while Adopt Athens directly runs Adopt a Highway, Adopt a Stream and Adopt a Park.

 

Most of Athens Transit’s customers are apartment complexes and property businesses, Hale said. They include University Commons, West Park Club Apartments, Hancock Properties and J.H. Barrett Properties, Inc.

 

 “We have at least 65 organizations that currently have a bus stop, many of which renew every year,” Hale said.

 

Examples of other organizations who have adopted a highway are the UGA Alumni Association, Xi Delta sorority and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

 

“Even though it costs nothing to adopt, people are still sacrificing a lot with the economy the way it is,” Farrell said. “I am proud to be a part of the Athens community; it feels very strong and more close nit than a lot of other communities I have been to.”

 

For more information on how to adopt a highway, bus stop, park or stream, visit keepathensbeautiful.com or athenstransit.com.

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