Above photo: Over 600 tires were pulled out of the woods alongside Richland Creek in Sugar Hill on Saturday as part of a major cleanup effort. Photo – Brandon Hembree
SUGAR HILL — The City of Sugar Hill along with the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources led by John Butler teamed up with the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization as part of the annual “Sweep the Hooch” event. The main tributary running through Sugar Hill that empties into the Chattahoochee is Richland Creek. Decades ago, land that runs alongside the creek was a dumping ground for hundreds and hundreds of old automobile tires.
Sugar Hill City Council Members Brandon Hembree and Taylor Anderson along with Varessa Butts, a Sugar Hill resident and employee of the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources coordinated a “Sweep the Hooch” event to clean up the old dumping ground near Gary Pirkle Park off of Suwanee Dam Road at Austin Garner Road. Members of the community including the Lanier High School football team joined in the efforts to clean up Richland Creek on Saturday, August 22.
At 9 a.m. around 90 members of the community got to work clearing all of the tires and debris from the old dumping ground on the banks of Richland Creek. The volunteers worked extremely hard and cleared a staggering 650 pounds of trash along with 640 illegally discarded tires (they weighed approximately 12,800 pounds worth of tires). “Bridgestone Tires will be picking [the tires] up and recycling all of them,” said Hembree. He added, “The Lanier High School Football team did an awesome job and moved the tires from the site.”
Lanier High School head football coach Korey Mobbs was approached by the City of Sugar Hill along with the Department of Water Resources about the cleanup efforts. He said that they “let us know they had the perfect job for a football team. It was a great time.” Mobbs added, “Our guys worked extremely hard and smart to figure out the most efficient way to tackle the job. Our guys are always willing to help when asked and we couldn’t be happier to help in our own back yard! The City of Sugar Hill means a great deal to our program.”
After three hours of tiring yet satisfying work, Richland Creek and the surrounding land are the cleanest they have been in decades all thanks to a small army of selfless volunteers.
Hembree says that more of these cleanup days are in the works for other sites around the city. The city’s goal is to restore nature in Sugar Hill to as pristine of a condition as possible for future generations to enjoy.