Keeping Fort Wright beautiful: Community Improvement Committee tackles litter

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Fighting litter and beautifying the city were hot topics at a recent Fort Wright City Council meeting. 

Margie Witt of Fort Wright City Council’s Community Improvement Committee gave her report on the plans and actions of the committee at the March 1 meeting. The committee is made up of councilmembers Witt and Scott Wall, who take the lead on clean-up projects around the city.

This Committee has several priorities, including installing Fort Wright city signs and replacing the existing trash cans and benches around the city, which have become “warped [and] unattractive.” 

However, the project that elicits the most passion from the committee members and their supporters is the issue of litter in Fort Wright. 

Jeff Bethell, Fort Wright’s Public Works Director, describes litter as a “constant battle” on the streets of their city. Bethell said that the public works department recently picked up 33 bags of trash off Highland Pike in just one day.

However, the public works department has only three staff members, including their director. They have other responsibilities, like mowing in the summer and plowing in the winter.

So, the Community Improvement Committee helps where it can. This involves a variety of initiatives around the city.

Most recently, the Committee has been working to get a formal nuisance notification letter, drafted by city attorney Timothy Theissen, to a company throwing flyers out of their car toward homes.

The Fort Wright nuisance code requires that flyers and handouts be walked to the door of a home. As it is, throwing flyers out of cars is creating more litter. 

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The Committee is also targeting specific areas of the city for continuous clean-up. They have identified six streets regularly covered with litter and safe for volunteers to pick up. 

There are six volunteers that have “adopted” certain streets to clean up. The city of Fort Wright outfits its volunteers with safety gear, trash grabbers and bags. 

“It’s amazing that these volunteers have stepped up to do these spots,” Witt said during her report. She said that many volunteers go above and beyond picking up trash on their adopted streets and go on to clean up streets throughout the city. 

Additionally, they persevere in a sometimes difficult position. Witt relayed, “We have had people throw [litter] out at us while picking up.”

On a larger scale, Fort Wright holds a litter clean-up event every year in the spring, organized by Witt and the public works department. April 22 will be their 10th Annual Clean Up Day. For three hours, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., volunteers gather, are given supplies and disperse to clean up nearly every street in the city. 

Afterward, they meet back at the city building for lunch. All volunteers are given a t-shirt to show off their hard work and dedication to their community.

“Our community is beautiful – full of amazing people, beautiful homes, thriving businesses and litter is an insult to our community. Honestly, I feel like when the city looks clean, we have greater pride in the city,” Witt told LINK nky. She also said that it matters to local business and in attracting new residents to the city. “People want to come to a city that’s clean.”

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Anyone interested in participating in this year’s Annual Clean Up Day or becoming a regular clean-up volunteer can email Margie Witt at [email protected] or Jeff Bethell at [email protected]

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