Pembroke welcomed a high profile visitor at City Hall during Monday’s city council meeting.
Sarah Visser, the executive director of the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, stopped by to help celebrate Pembroke becoming an official affiliate of that venerable organization.
“I’m here because the city of Pembroke made a commitment to tackle litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling, and beautification as a way to improve their city,” Visser said.
The designation as an affiliate of Keep Georgia Beautiful — the state chapter of Keep America Beautiful — doesn’t come without lots of work, officials said. Local volunteers had to undergo training, some of which Visser conducted Monday.
She lauded their efforts.
“They’ve done a terrific job,” Visser said. “They’ve worked really, really hard, essentially as a volunteer group. The board members don’t get paid for this, remember … I think they’re going to do some exciting things and there will be some good stuff happening here.”
The move is an important one, officials said, since designation as Keep Pembroke Beautiful gives the city access to grants, research and a network that includes about 600 communities
nationwide. The Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation is the largest in the United States and also focuses on water quality and water conservation issues, Visser said.
Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell cheered the group’s official certification at Monday’s meeting.
“I am proud of the accomplishments our Keep Pembroke Beautiful Board has made over the past months as they have worked toward our becoming the 76th affiliate of Keep Georgia Beautiful,” Warnell said. “This program is one citizens throughout our city both young and old can participate in. It’s one that demonstrates we are genuinely interested in making Pembroke even more attractive and a place we are proud to call home.”
Downtown Development Authority head Sharroll Fanslau will serve as director of Keep Pembroke Beautiful while Carolyn Downs will chair the board, which includes Gwen Strickland, Charlotte Bacon, Michael Owens, Johanna Redeye, Luther Bacon, B.J. Clark, Marsha Clark and Kay Hughes.
Fanslau said Keep Pembroke Beautiful will focus on litter prevention, education, beautification and recycling in its first year — and Visser said she was pleasantly surprised to learn a city the size of Pembroke, with 2,200 residents, already offers residents single stream curbside recycling.
“That’s just phenomenal. They’re really doing great things here,” she said.