Alley cleanup in Ironton to start Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2003

City leaders are excited about what a little teamwork can accomplish.

Union employees and community service workers will begin a city-wide alley cleanup Wednesday, and won't stop until the job is done.

The cleanup project is a cooperative effort between the city,

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the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 771 union and the Ironton Municipal Court's Community Service Program.

Different than the annual spring cleanup,

the effort will focus on cleaning up the existing trash, weeds, brush and other debris that litters many of the city's alleys.

"We felt that we have never given attention to (the alleys)," said Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins, who started the community service program 22 years ago. "We have the opportunity to go through the city and literally clean it up from one end to the other, so we are going to do it this fall."

Mayor Bob Cleary said the city employees are so shorthanded that they can only do what is absolutely necessary, and were not able to cover as much area as everyone would like - until now.

"We have put together a plan to cooperatively use city employees, the union group and the community service workers to have a cleanup program better that we have ever had," Cleary said. "We are going to go through the whole city. There will be a minimal cost to the city (for the union workers' hourly pay), but it will be well worth it."

Judge Collins, Mayor Cleary, Joe Johnson, president of the local AFSCME chapter, and Jerry Rowe, director of the community service program, walked through several alleys on the south side of Ironton Thursday to see just how bad the alleys are.

"I don't think some of the alleys have ever really been cleaned," Collins said. "Some are in real bad shape."

Although the cleanup will only be on city right-of-ways, residents are encouraged to talk with workers if they want them to clean off fence lines and other areas of private property adjacent to the alleys.

Though the primary focus is on the alleys, other areas may be cleaned up as well, city officials said.

The cleanup will begin Wednesday morning in the alleys between Lorain and Vine streets from Third to 12th streets.

This is just the starting point. The workers will move from the south end of town all the way to Hanging Rock in upcoming weeks.

City officials hope to post in the newspaper calender what blocks will be hit each week after it is determined how quickly the cleanup proceeds.

Rowe said he will probably have 10 to 12 community service workers each day who will be joined by the city employed dump truck and loader drivers.

Community service is often given for misdemeanor offenses, such as people who are serving mandatory jail time who can work to reduce their sentences and other offenders who cannot afford to pay their fines and court costs.

The hope is that this cooperative effort can become an annual event, Collins said.