• 64°

Dumping brings ill will at Goodwill

CHESAPEAKE — It’s the sign of new times at the Goodwill Store in Chesapeake. No longer will dumping of any kind be tolerated. And so far a tough new policy is slowly working.

For years Goodwill employees would come to work to find a smorgasbord of trash on the lot and by the store. Mattresses. Box springs. Sofas. Chairs and just plain garbage.

Some of the items like used mattresses and springs Goodwill never takes because they don’t offer them in the store. Furniture, an item that the store does take, would be in no condition for resale because it was dumped in the rain.

“There would be leftovers from rummage sales. Things people couldn’t sell,” Mayor Dick Gilpin said. “It is costing (Goodwill) money to haul it away.”

The policy at Goodwill is for donors to come to a specified area where they can ring a bell and someone in the store will come out and take the items. Items are not to be left in the parking lot without notifying a store employee.

The disregard of this policy has turned the Goodwill lot into what some in the village are calling an eyesore.

“People were taking advantage of Goodwill,” Kathy Gue, with Operation TLC, said. “People with truckloads of sofas and mattresses were being dropped off at night or after hours. It looked so unattractive. When we welcome people to Chesapeake, we want it to be attractive. It wasn’t attractive.”

About four months ago surveillance cameras were installed around the property.

While no violators have been caught, the cameras have cut back on the dumping problem store manager Sylvia Javins says.

Now in a few more days a sign will be posted warning that Goodwill will only accept donations during business hours.

“Any person leaving items outside will be fined for littering,” the sign said.

Those caught will face a maximum fine of $535 for violating a state law for which the village is imposing the hefty penalty, the mayor said.

“We are going to enforce it 24 hours a day,” Gilpin said. “We don’t want to cut off Goodwill’s ability to get donations. They came to us. They are willing to prosecute. Not only will we but Goodwill will prosecute.”