A lack of funding has reduced manpower for a whole bunch of City services. Here’s how you can help (and if you want to help, here’s what to keep in mind).
It’s all anyone can talk about! Well, it’s not ALL anyone can talk about, but it’s certainly been a generally warm topic of conversation: the City doesn’t have the funding to do timely mowing of all sorts of parks, medians, and other grassy areas. And we know how it gets in Richmond–the summer gives plants everything they need to attempt to take over the town.
With firefighters leading the charge, we’ve heard rumors of citizen groups mobilizing to follow suit.
And that’s not all citizens are taking in hand. May brings with it a lot of resident turnover, and people moving in and out of apartments means a whole lot of couches and futons left on sidewalks (or the double whammy of a futon on a couch, which I saw the other day). Bulk trash pick-up is a thing that you can call and request from the City, but if you do so these days, you’re unlikely to get that soggy couch off your block anytime soon.
Before you get all full vigilante about this stuff, take a few minutes to read the following.
Know before you mow
The City is officially welcoming help, but they plead with you to let them know your plans first. I spoke with Sharon North from the Department of Public Works so that we can avoid forging ahead blindly.
- Before you call who you need to call–we’ll get to that–you need to make sure you have your own equipment. A human-powered push mower is not going to cut it–Whoa, no pun intended!–and the City will not provide you with equipment.
- Know where you’d like to mow. If you don’t have a specific area in mind, you may want at least to specify an area of town. They’re not going to be cool with you doing certain areas like narrower medians, because it puts you in a potentially dangerous position and they’re not trying to have your blood on their hands.
- Prepare yourself, you may need some patience. Everyone appreciates your team-player zeal, but you may need to hang tight while the Green City Commission and the Neighbor to Neighbor project come up with their final list of volunteers and sites and a definitive start date.
- Now that you’re fully equipped with knowledge (and, hopefully, equipment), feel free to call Darlene Mallory at the Green City Commission. Her number is 804.646.8325.
In better, fully-funded days, the City might have been able to show up promptly in your alley and remove the offending bed frame, shake your hand, and fly away into the clouds on wings of gossamer.
Right now, that’s just not going to happen.
If you’ve got a plethora of giant trash items eating up your view, you should still call the City. It might be a code violation or illegal dumping, in which case they might be able to do something for you. Trash that isn’t just an eyesore but an obstruction is another problem entirely. MPACT is where you want to direct your attention. Here’s the online reporting tool or call 3-1-1 or 804.646.7000.
If the City’s unable to help you out, consider checking with your neighborhood association. Enough calls and they might just be willing to foot the bill for a coordinated neighborhood bulk trash pickup in exchange for some increased curb appeal.