Springfield cleans up ‘biggest trash pile in the city’

6:00 a.m. Friday, April 14, 2017 Politics

The city of Springfield cleaned up this week what some employees called the biggest trash pile they’d seen in 20 years after multiple complaints from neighbors.

It took about a dozen workers and five hours to clear a large pile of junk and trash from a property in the 2200 block of Superior Avenue on Wednesday, said Stephen Thompson, Springfield planning, zoning and code administrator.

“It was full of mattresses, toilets and other household items,” he said.

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This cleanup isn’t the first time the property has been a site for illegal dumping, Thompson said. The owner of the home couldn’t be reached for comment by Springfield News-Sun.

“We’ve had other complaints in the past but the owner took care of it. But this time he did not,” he said. “And this time it was bigger than any point in the past.”

In addition to being an eyesore, junk and trash piles can pose a health threat, Thompson has said, attracting bugs and rodents.

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Workers used two front-end loaders to fill two Dumpsters at the property. It was a coordinated effort between Springfield Code Enforcement, the Clark County Solid Waste District and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office’s PRIDE program.

“In a case like this where it is large, it does take a little big of time when we are involving other agencies,” he said. “But in the end it’s an effort to save the citizens of Springfield money.”

The cost to the city was about $1,000 for the use of the Dumpsters, he said, and the homeowner will be sent a bill to cover those costs.

The removal of the trash was delayed about three months because the city had maxed out its federal funding it can use for cleanups, Springfield Community Development Director Shannon Meadows said.

Its Community Development Block Grant money had been accounted for, she said, and the city had no general fund money available to spend on removing the trash. That meant the city had to wait to clean up the mess until the beginning of April, she said, when it’s federal block grant money was renewed.

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Neighbors on Superior Avenue said the trash pile was an eyesore.

“I’ve been here five years so it’s been a problem about that long,” Pamela Carter said.

The pile was in the back of the home, she said, but she could see it when driving by on the street.

“It was really packed,” she said. “It was just a bunch of garbage down there.”

The cleanup will make the entire neighborhood a nicer place to live, she said.

“It makes the property a little more valued for people who would like to live around here,” she said. “But if you passed by that wanting to rent anything, your first instinct would be to say, ‘No!’”

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Only items meant to be outside are allowed in yards, Thompson said, even if it’s in a private backyard.

“The only thing that’s allowed to be in your yard is anything designed to be outside like outdoor lawn furniture …landscaping items,” he said.

Residents with concerns about junk or trash or other code enforcement issues can call the city at 937-324-7385.