Home In Your Community Keep Smyrna Beautiful Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Keep Smyrna Beautiful Celebrates 40th Anniversary

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Keep Smyrna Beautiful volunteers

Inspiring the community to be clean, green, and beautiful.

By Cory Sekine-Pettite

This year, Keep Smyrna Beautiful (KSB) is commemorating four decades of service to the City of Smyrna. For 40 years, city employees, KSB staff, and local volunteers have worked diligently on cleanup projects, recycling programs, creating green spaces, planting trees, and more.

Keep Smyrna Beautiful was started in 1984 as Smyrna Clean and Beautiful, Inc. through a Smyrna ordinance. Today, the organization functions as a hybrid model that includes the nonprofit Keep Smyrna Beautiful, Inc., and the Department of Environmental Services, a city department.

“At milestone years, it’s good to reflect on the people and work that got the organization to this point,” says KSB Board Chair Phyllis Owens. “We also want to look forward and dream about new ways to achieve our mission to inspire our community to be clean, green, and beautiful.”

The nonprofit, whose motto is “To inspire our community to be clean, green, and beautiful,” certainly has been successful at its mission. In 1989, Smyrna Clean and Beautiful was instrumental in the opening of the Smyrna Recycling Center. Originally located on Smyrna Hill Drive, the center was only open three days a week to accept newspaper, aluminum, and glass. Now on a larger plot at 3475 Lake Drive, the center is open five days a week and accepts a wide range of materials, including paint and electronics.

Keep Smyrna Beautiful is funded by the revenue from the Smyrna Recycling Center, donations, grants, and event sponsorships. Just to give you an idea of how much waste KSB volunteers collect, here are a few key numbers from 2023:

  •  21,498 – total pounds of litter collected
  •  28,760 – pounds of paper diverted from the landfill
  •  5,125 – Christmas trees chipped at annual event

Another well-known project of KSB, the jonquil bulb sale, was awarded national recognition from Keep America Beautiful when it was known as the “The Great Jonquil Gold Rush,” in the 1980s. Now a fall staple, the annual sale distributes more than 12,000 jonquil bulbs to city residents each year. Additional KSB initiatives include Adopt-a-Mile, School Grants, environmental education in Smyrna schools, and the Sensory Garden. Among its other state and national awards are the following:

  •  Keep America Beautiful: 2022 Innovation Award: Partnerships, President’s Circle (2003-2022), Sustained Excellence: (2015-2019), First Place: National Affiliate (2003, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015-2019), Second Place: National Affiliate (2001, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012)
  •  Keep Georgia Beautiful: Governor’s Circle (2016-2022), First Place: State Affiliate (1997-2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019, Second Place: State Affiliate (2018)

“Change starts by knowing your options and understanding the impacts a person’s choice makes on their community and environment,” says Owens. “I want KSB to be an opportunity to partner with those who want to improve our community and more largely our environment.”

Smyrna Recycling Center
Though it had modest beginnings in 1989 with only a small space to collect newspapers, aluminum cans, and glass, the Smyrna Recycling Center has grown to not only accept more materials, but it also provides educational programming.

Today the Smyrna Recycling Center accepts more than two dozen different items, including electronics, paint, and more. Anyone is free to bring their materials to the center. You don’t have to be a Smyrna resident, and fees apply only for paint, TVs, and computer monitors. Except for holidays, the center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On the third Friday of every month, the center offers a tour from 9-10 a.m., led by the current Recycling Center Coordinator Jerod Stewart. “The tour gave a great mix of very practical how-to-recycle information as well as big-picture info about what happens to the items after they’re collected,” shared a recent tour participant. “I loved going behind the scenes, and I feel it was immensely helpful to understanding the recycling process, locally in Smyrna and beyond.” Register here for an upcoming tour via KSB’s website, ­keepsmyrnabeautiful.com.


Help KSB Celebrate
You can help Keep Smyrna Beautiful celebrate its 40th anniversary in a multitude of ways, including helping the nonprofit raise $40,000.

  •  Support the $40 for 40 campaign. KSB is asking that its volunteers, supporters, and other residents make a contribution of $40 in support of this milestone anniversary. If just two percent of the population of Smyrna donated, the organization can reach its goal!
  •  Sponsor the Smyrna Garden Tour. KSB’s annual fundraiser, which takes place each May 4, is a self-guided tour of five Smyrna-area gardens.
  •  Purchase a 40th-anniversary yard sign. This is a great way to spread the word about how important it is to keep Smyrna clean, green, and beautiful. Signs are $15, and proceeds go to support KSB programs. You can purchase signs at the Smyrna Recycling Center during open hours.
  •  Wear your support. Order one of KSB’s 40th anniversary T-shirts from Bonfire. This helps create awareness of its mission and any profit goes to support KSB programs.
  •  Volunteer with KSB. The nonprofit always is seeking volunteers to adopt miles, participate in one-time cleanups, represent them at community events, and more!

Complete details on these programs are available at keepsmyrnabeautiful.com/40th-anniversary.


Volunteer Picnic and Awards
In April, more than 100 Keep Smyrna Beautiful volunteers hit the streets to pick up litter. They included more than a dozen Adopt-A-Mile groups and Community Cleanup volunteers. Afterward, volunteers met up at Tolleson Park for a Great American Cleanup volunteer appreciation picnic. To recognize KSB’s milestone 40th anniversary, the organization took the opportunity to recognize individuals and groups for their outstanding contribution to KSB in the last year.

2023 Most Litter Picked Up Award – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

2023 Rookie of the Year (Group) – KEH Camera

2023 Community Partner Award – Jonquil Garden Club (for their work in the Sensory Garden)

2023 Most Hours Volunteered – David Martin

2023 Most Hours Volunteered – Lee Holden

2023 Most Hours Volunteered – Stephanie Earhart

2023 Rookie of the Year (Individual) – Jenny Anderson

2023 Ready-for-Anything Award – Maria Shiung

Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award (Individual) – Jim Simpson

Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award (Group) – Smyrna Optimist Club

Keep Smyrna Beautiful volunteers

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