City seeks cleanup aid from Dinkytown residents

by Max Rust

A city program in which businesses and other groups will clean up sidewalk refuse while cutting city costs might be coming to Dinkytown.
Minneapolis’ Adopt A Litter Container program aims to reduce the workload for the Division of Solid Waste and Recycling, which currently faces budget constraints, by getting businesses and other community groups to take care of trash receptacles.
The city is working to get all city containers adopted by December 2000.
“The division has been unable to get a rate increase for four years, and so as costs to (service the containers) goes up, you have to take some cost-cutting measures,” said Janet Myles, coordinator of the Minneapolis Clean City Corps.
Part of the Division of Solid Waste and Recycling, the program is run by the city corps.
The two-and-a-half-year-old program was originally designed for businesses, but Myles said many community groups and block clubs are also taking part.
Businesses or organizations who adopt containers are responsible for disposing litter, relining the containers with plastic bags and removing graffiti. The city will aid in the graffiti removal and, if the adopter wishes, service the container for $12 a month.
Litter containers in Dinkytown are emptied on average three times a week during the school year and two times a week in the summer. There are 22 containers in Dinkytown.
Several Dinkytown business owners were informed of the program last week at a Dinkytown Business Association meeting.
Dan Zielske, the association’s president, said members are now mulling over options for dealing with the containers and will discuss the program at the next meeting.
“I think the consensus is that it’s a good idea, but it hasn’t been formally voted one way or the other,” Zielske said of the program.
Edward Whitehouse, manager of the Crazy Carrot Juice Bar on Fourth Street Southeast, said he favors the program and wouldn’t mind caring for one of the containers.
“I think if a business wants to have customers come in and enjoy whatever they are offering, it’s really their responsibility to make sure the surrounding area is clean,” Whitehouse said.
Businesses who adopt containers would dispose of them in their privately serviced dumpsters.
Myles said the program is working well on a portion of Nicollet Avenue south of downtown referred to as “Eat Street.”
“Cleaning around the place is our responsibility. We have one of our employees (empty the containers) or I do it sometimes. It’s good. It helps,” said Mohammad Awadallah, the manager of Jerusalem’s, a restaurant on Nicollet Avenue.
Myles said the program has worked in other areas, too, including residential neighborhoods. Anyone who wants to take part, including individual residents, can request a container until next year.
“As of December 2000, we’re working toward getting the city out of the litter containers business,” Myles said. “We will not be servicing litter containers anymore.”

Max Rust covers communities and welcomes comments at [email protected].