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City clean-up effort is cooperative

This undeveloped lot at the corner of Florence and Pine Streets is littered with trash. The new campaign would educate residents about proper trash disposal. Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD Members of the City Council have been questioning city officials about the new trash fee program in the last two weeks, but at a meeting on Aug. 9, they learned about a new program designed to address the trash and litter in the city.

Ivette Cruz of the city's Offices of Housing Neighborhoods and Andrea Luppi, director of community relations for the Springfield YMCA, were accompanied by members of Citizens for a Clean Springfield to the meeting chaired by Rosemarie Mazza Moriarty.

Luppi said the YMCA had been approached by the Citizens for a Clean Springfield as acting as the lead agency in the effort to raise funds so the city will be a chapter of Keep America Beautiful, launch a citywide campaign to educate residents about proper trash and litter disposal and to organize a month-long event called "Pride in Springfield Month" to begin in April 2007.

"Everyone has a problem with trash and citizens have to be involved," Cruz said. She is the project manager for the new effort.

Luppi said the new effort is "very exciting."

Cruz said the campaign would be a partnership between the citizen's group, the YMCA, and the city.

Acknowledging the city has financial limits to what it can contribute to the budget of the campaign, Cruz said there would be a fund-raising effort. The budget for the program includes $4,000 for an affiliation fee to Keep America Beautiful, $20,000 for funds to launch a city wide promotional campaign and $100,000 for the initiative to reduce trash and litter.

Cruz emphasized the importance of sustainability for the program, which is designed to be long-rang in scope.

The month-long event in April would include the distribution of litterbags to motorists and a clean-up day. Cruz said the city's neighborhood councils would be asked to pick areas in the section of the city that need cleaning up the most. On the specified day, two dumpsters would be brought to each site so 34 lots can be cleaned in one day.

Another goal is make sure the entrances to all of the city's neighborhoods are cleaned and that all neighborhoods have welcoming signs.

Cruz said of solving the trash problem, "It's not going to be easy. It will take some time."