Volunteers planting seeds of success  

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A public median on Hairston Road, just south of Redan Road looks a little more colorful thanks to Greater Hidden Hills Community Development Corporation (GHHCDC)—a non-profit volunteer organization that promotes business development in DeKalb County.

On Oct. 29, volunteers planted trees and bushes to revitalize business in the area.

According to GHHCDC officials, thousands of people drive through the intersection every day. Improving the streetscape will help attract business.

Jan Costello, president of GHHCDC, said the project supports business in the area and the community.

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“When you improve the streetscape, it definitely improves the business in the area,” Costello said. “It has a real profound impact on the community.”

According to a University of Washington urban landscape study, researchers found that trees and manicured landscaping in commercial areas lead to more customers, greater customer retention, and up to 12 percent more spending.

DeKalb County’s Keep DeKalb Beautiful provided assistance and heavy equipment support. On Oct. 26, Keep DeKalb Beautiful workers tilled the soil in preparation for planting.

Costello said she’s grateful GHHCDC was able to partner with the county.

“The county realizes how important it is to have beautiful streetscapes,” Costello said.  “We were able to raise the money and we’re really grateful that so many people pitched in.”

GHHCDC raised money for the project through donations and fundraisers. The group received a $3,000 pledge from State Farm Insurance and a $500 pledge from Hackney Real Estate Services, owner of Crowe’s Plaza.

The group also raised $300 through a battle of the bands fundraiser and $500 from a Gofundme account, Costello said.

“People want to shop and dine near their homes. We are willing to invest in making the area more attractive so that desirable businesses will invest here and prosper,” Costello said in a statement.

Volunteers planted 10 crape myrtle trees and 71 bushes to fill the 400-foot-long median. Volunteers also cleaned the area around the median.

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The project was phase one of a revitalization plan, Costello said.

“We are going to do more at that intersection, but this is our first stop and the community is behind us,” Costello said. “We are immensely grateful.

We have been knocking on businesses’ doors and two dozen businesses have contributed. This is really a community effort.”

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