Second spring cleanup Saturday

Residents, city crews prepare for effort to get rid of trash

April 17, 2001|By Tom Gutting | Tom Gutting,SUN STAFF

Coming soon to an alley or trash-strewn lot near you: Mayor Martin O'Malley's Super Spring Sweep Thing II.

In the mayor's second annual campaign to curb Baltimore's year-round trash problem, the Department of Public Works and city residents started mobilizing yesterday for the major citywide cleanup, scheduled for Saturday.

This year, the event will be held for one day, not two. The city will again provide brooms, rakes, shovels, gloves and bags to all who want to get their hands dirty and their neighborhoods clean.

Organization has been streamlined this year, said DPW spokesman Bob Murrow. The hours DPW crews put in during the weekend, along with the overtime they would be paid, will be minimized, Murrow said, because the Saturday cleanup belongs to citizen volunteers.

"They'll basically be putting the finishing touches on the areas," Murrow said.

That's because 22 four-person DPW crews have started targeting 172 "hot spots" throughout the city this week, clearing larger items of trash such as tree limbs and old appliances, Murrow said.

DPW officials said 1,800 volunteers and nearly 80 community groups have signed up to help clean up Saturday.

"I think that the battle [against trash] is not won," Murrow said, "but we are making progress."

Last year, O'Malley continued the city's spring cleaning tradition of former mayors William Donald Schaefer and Kurt L. Schmoke. About 4,000 volunteers collected more than 2,500 tons of trash in the inaugural Super Spring Sweep Thing. That helped increase the total amount of debris collected in Baltimore's streets, alleys and vacant lots last year by 65 percent compared with the 1999 total, DPW figures show.

Signup for Super Spring Sweep Thing II continues through Thursday, but Murrow said no one will be turned away after that. Any individual or group wanting to pledge time should call 410-396-4511.

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