CLINTON – Anderson County Government spends thousands of dollars in grant funding each year in its efforts to combat unsightly litter on county roadways. Now, there’s a new avenue for citizen volunteers to help in that effort.
The Anderson County Adopt-A-Road Program is similar to the State of Tennessee’s Adopt-A-Highway Program.
The local Adopt-A-Road Program, paid for through TDOT Litter Grant funding from the State, will allow individual citizens and community groups, who complete the required application and other paperwork and have been authorized by the County, to “Adopt a Road” and hold responsibility for keeping it litter-free. The program requires an initial three-year commitment. After that period has ended, it is the adopter’s decision whether to continue participating in the program.
The county will support Adopt-A-Road participants by loaning out litter “grabbers,” trash bags, gloves, and safety vests, and providing high-visibility T-shirts, to allow volunteers to pick up trash along approved county roads. Pickup of bagged and collected litter by county crews must be scheduled in advance of a litter pick-up event, or volunteers agree to drop off collected litter at a county convenience center during regular operating hours.
Once two scheduled clean-ups of a county road have been completed within one year, the roadway will be considered officially “adopted” and the County will provide up to two permanent, free road signs that identify the individual adoptee or group.
To learn more about how you can participate in the county Adopt-A-Road program, visit http://www.litterfreeintennessee.org/adopt-a-road/. The website contains all the information related to the program, including an online application, safety guidance, a liability release form that volunteers must download, complete and turn in to the County Mayor’s office, and an online collection report that volunteers will be required to complete after each clean-up event.
“We know litter is a big problem in many communities, and Anderson County, unfortunately, is not exempt,” Leean Tupper said. Tupper is the County Mayor’s administrative assistant and serves as coordinator for the county Adopt-A-Road Program.
For years, Anderson County has used a work crew of county jail inmates to regularly pick up litter along county roadways. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, resulted in several lockdowns for the county jail in the last year and the inmate work crew has not been available to pick up litter as it has in the past.
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on us in many ways, including the amount of litter we see as we drive our local roadways,” Tupper said. “The Mayor and I were inspired earlier this year to implement something that can allow our citizens to take a more active role in litter prevention and education after a local citizen, Christopher Hammond, contacted us with the idea of having a county Adopt-A-Road Program.”
“We have a lot of people in the community who have partnered with us on litter pick-up over the years and we can’t thank them enough,” County Mayor Terry Frank said. “I want to thank County Commission and especially Anderson County citizen Christopher Hammond for reaching out to his elected officials to share a great idea. Mr. Hammond, who volunteers himself by regularly picking up Lonesome Dove Road and Lone Dove Creek, took the time to send pictures and information to his elected officials about a way to grow our community partnerships and inspire others. With the encouragement, support and authorization of County Commission, we are excited to now get this program up and running,” the mayor said.
For the last few years, the County has contracted with a local vendor to assist in picking up litter along State roadways. The contracted service is supported with Litter Grants funds the county receives from TDOT each fiscal year. And, in March 2021, the Anderson County Commission authorized the county to spend up to $6,500 in local funds to allow the contracted service provider to pick up litter on some county roads.
Between the county jail work crew and the contracted service provider, Anderson County spends grant funding up to $53,000 each fiscal year toward litter pickup activities and prevention education throughout the county. During Fiscal Year 2020 that ended June 30, both contracted service and Anderson County jail work crews picked up 56,656 pounds – or roughly 28.3 tons – of trash from local roadways.
Annually, the State of Tennessee spends $19 million to combat the litter problem statewide, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The Anderson County Adopt-A-Road Program is part of the Solid Waste Management Department, supported by the County Mayor’s Office and TDOT Litter Grant funds.