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New litter control effort considered in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The City Council will vote Tuesday on implementing a new litter control effort requested by Mayor John Suthers earlier this year and created by public works director Travis Easton.

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The effort is called Keep it Clean COS and calls for allocating $2.7 million in budget reserves for the next year that would pay for purchasing street sweepers and related equipment, hiring more employees to work on litter pickup and educating the public about the need to secure trash in containers and trucks so that it doesn't blow around and accumulate.

City of Colorado Springs

Suthers said that more resources are needed because current efforts by volunteers, the organization Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, El Paso County and the Colorado Department of Transportation aren't enough to keep up with the constant amount of trash and litter.

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"CDOT and the county have limited resources," said City Council President Tom Strand. "Part of this new effort is making agreements with them to let us take responsibility for cleaning up some areas, such as along Interstate 25 where a lot of the trash and litter seems to accumulate, and that we can get to more often with our added resources."

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However, Easton said that I-25 through the city will remain under CDOT's jurisdiction.

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"It's for liability reasons," he said. "But we're looking at taking other some areas, such as along U.S. 24 and Powers Boulevard. We have a map that shows areas of the city that have generated the most public complaints about litter and trash."

City of Colorado Springs

Easton also said that $2.7 million is for start-up costs and the plan would require less money in succeeding years.

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"We're getting four street sweepers and some other equipment," he explained. "We probably won't get the sweepers until next year but we can still start some aspects of the plan this month, if the Council approves it. We'd hire people from the homeless community to work on cleanup."

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The plan includes the city presenting a Spirit of the Springs award each fall to a resident or volunteer community group that has made a significant contribution to helping keep Colorado Springs clean.

Marlon Russmann, a city resident, said that he doesn't like the plan.

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"I think we need to go back to the way it used to be and clean up after yourselves -- and you know, there should be consequences for the things you do," he said. "And we definitely can't call it Colorful Colorado anymore."

But other residents said that they welcome any additional resources to reduce the amount of trash and litter.

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Easton said that the plan would focus on trash along streets, roads, medians and waterways but would not include homeless camps which are cleaned up as part of a separate effort that will continue.

For more information, visit: https://coloradosprings.gov/keepitclean.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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