Cleanup Saturdays in College Park

By Dorvall Bedford

College Park residents disposed of their trash outside the Public Works Building Saturday morning during one of two Cleanup Saturdays scheduled this October.

The Department of Public Works hosts Cleanup Saturdays four times a year, normally in the fall and spring, as said by Assistant Director Frank Pacifico. The purpose is to allow residents to come to the operation center of the department and drop off various items, including bulk trash, brush and electronics for recycling.

“They’ve been collecting a lot of things like styrofoam or other recyclables that have been piling up in their homes,” Pacifico said. “So it just gives them a free opportunity to come out and get rid of any waste that they have.”

Residents sort trash, electronics and blocks of Styrofoam into containers outside of the Public Works building. (Dorvall Bedford/The Writer’s Bloc)

Cleanup Saturdays also serve to keep the city’s environment clean. The event is meant to prevent illegal dumping that may occur when residents are not able to get rid of their larger refuse.

“We strive to keep the communities and the streets clean for our residents so that they have a safe and healthy environment to live in,” Pacifico said.

Local resident Robert Catlin came to the Cleanup Saturday to throw away an old computer monitor and other trash. He thought that the event was very helpful for the city. He especially liked how convenient the paper shredding service was.

“Paper shredding is something you really have to spend money to do typically,” Catlin said. “The county sponsors it once in a while, but whenever they sponsor it there’s usually an hour wait to do it.”

Department of Public Works Assistant Director Frank Pacifico assists a resident with placing trash into containers outside of the Public Works building. (Dorvall Bedford/The Writer’s Bloc)

Alice Mignerey believed that the Department of Public Works was doing a fantastic job at cleaning up the community with Cleanup Saturdays.

“They should have it more often,” she said. “They should have it once a month.”

Mignerey pointed out that the event had yellow bins for people to put their compost in. They were for waste, bones, and other stuff that would end up in a landfill.

The Department of Public Works has been flexible and dynamic about how they have been doing their work during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Pacifico. They try their best to continue critical services while keeping their employees safe and socially distanced. 

The Department of Public Works was forced to cancel their springtime Cleanup Saturdays early on during the pandemic, but they still allowed customers to drop their bulky material and electronics into containers outside of the Public Works Building during April and May. Since the department was not able to provide a place for brush, they instead sent trucks around each week to pick up brush debris directly in front of resident homes.

The efforts of the Department of Public Works does not go unnoticed by the city residents. Catlin appreciated the city for sending out their trucks. He has about 20 trees and over 100 shrubs in his yard which cause him to call the city to pick up dead branches and trimmings of shrubs constantly.

“Gosh, they probably pick up 50 bags of those a year for me at least,” Catlin said. “The city’s always picked up everything.”

Residents bring brush and yard trim from their homes to the Department of Public Works. (Dorvall Bedford/The Writer’s Bloc)

Maintaining the city’s health is a responsibility that the Department of Public Works does not carry alone. Pacifico suggested that residents should clean up in front of homes, sweep up paper debris, and recycle materials. People can also call the department when they see debris so that they can send litter crews out.

The recent Cleanup Saturday was one of the busier days the Department of Public Works has seen, said Pacifico.

“We just appreciate the residents’ participation,” he said. “And we appreciate the opportunity to provide the service.”

The second Cleanup Saturday is scheduled for Oct. 24.

Featured Photo Credit: Dorvall Bedford/Bloc Reporter

Dorvall Bedford is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at dorbed2002@gmail.com.

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