State denies local KKK group's application to pick up highway litter
UNION COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -
The Georgia Department of Transportation has denied the application of a north Georgia Ku Klux Klan group to adopt and beautify a section of highway in Union County.
The application, submitted by the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was denied Tuesday.
According to a statement released by GDOT, the application was denied, in part, on the grounds that the signs would be distracting to drivers because it would bear the group's name.
Plus, GDOT said the highway requested by the group, a section of Highway 515, was ineligible for adoption due to its speed limit.
On Monday, CBS Atlanta News spoke to April Chambers, a member of the KKK. Over the phone, she said that the group was just aiming to help keep the highway litter-free.
"All we want to do is keep our mountain beautiful," Chambers said. "That's all we ever wanted and that is what we are doing it for."
GDOT officials met with the attorney general's office to review the application before making a decision.
But Monday, their decision was made. GDOT released a statement which said:
"The Georgia Department of Transportation, after consultation with Gov. Nathan Deal and the State Transportation Board Chair, today denied the application of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan to participate in the Department's Adopt A Highway program in Union County, GA.
"The Adopt A Highway Program is designed to allow civic-minded organizations in good standing to provide the valuable public service of removing litter from designated roadways. Participation in the program should not detract from its worthwhile purpose.
"Maintaining the safety of our roadways is this department's foremost mission. Encountering signage and members of the KKK along a roadway would create a definite distraction to motorists. Also, the section of roadway requested is ineligible for adoption due to its posted speed limit exceeding the program maximum of 55 mph.
"Further, promoting an organization with a history of inciting civil disturbance and social unrest would present a grave concern to the department.
"Finally, issuing this permit would have the potential to negatively impact the quality of life, commerce and economic development of Union County and all of Georgia."
As of Monday night, the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had not issued any type of statement about the denial of the application.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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