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Springfield To Announce An Effort To Make The City Cleaner

a person illegally dumping trash from the back of a panel truck at night.
City of Springfield

A new initiative will be announced this week to clean up litter in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Growing amounts of litter and blight in Springfield has been a complaint of several neighborhood organizations and civic groups for years. 

Borrowing a term from the residential real estate industry, Russ Seelig, of Concerned Citizens for Springfield, said right now the city has a problem with its “curb appeal.”

"I would give it a C-minus, I am sorry to say," Seelig said. "There continue to be areas where there is a lot of litter and trash and it just detracts from the appearance of the city."

This Friday, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is expected to unveil a new clean city initiative. It will be a multi-pronged approach including anti-litter messaging with posters, flyers, social media, and broadcast public service announcements.  There will be planned clean-ups, contests with prize awards, and a promise of more enforcement of sanitary codes.

Seelig said it is encouraging to see this approach.

"I am thoroughly optimistic about how the city will look over the next several months into the fall," Seelig said. "We have a bright future and keeping the city clean is part of that bright future."

Another part of the initiative will be the introduction of an anti-litter curriculum in the Springfield Public Schools.

"Kids also litter and if we can educate them not to litter, as they grow up they'll appreciate their surroundings even more and have more appreciation for the community in which they live and they are a vital part of keeping it clean," Seelig said.

Sarno has recently publicized a continuing effort to curb illegal dumping through the use of hidden cameras.

"Don't do it because we are going to catch you," warned Sarno.

Several years ago, the city started putting motion-activated cameras at locations that had become popular dumping sites for old mattresses, furniture, tires, and plastic bags filled with trash.  The locations monitored, which change from time-to-time, are not disclosed.

" And I always say 'smile' because you never know where we are going to have those cameras," Sarno said.  " We are going to make examples of you."

The mayor’s office earlier this month issued a press release with the names and addresses of nine people, identified as the registered owners of vehicles photographed by the hidden cameras, who were issued citations for illegal dumping since last fall.

Disposing of trash illegally in the city carries a maximum fine of $300.

"I will be looking to do something to highten those fines," Sarno said.

The city DPW offers a bulk items pickup program.  For an $8 fee, the city will haul away furniture, mattresses and box springs, appliances, large toys, and tires.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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