CARBONDALE — After a day of partying throughout downtown and in the neighborhoods in Carbondale, volunteers take to those same streets the next day to keep the city looking clean.
This past weekend was the annual Polar Bear, which included an influx of students walking outside attending bars and house parties throughout the city. So, naturally, whenever there are large amounts of people congregating in one place — litter will likely be left behind.
Sarah Heyer, executive director of Keep Carbondale Beautiful, said there were about 20 volunteers Sunday picking up trash in the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. She said volunteers picked up eight large bags of trash, and that it's possible the organization picked up about twice as much as the previous year.
“We want to keep Carbondale looking good. We know it is not going to be looking good (after weekends),” Heyer said. “We know it is good for the students. Anybody who is going to pick up litter will probably encourage people around them not to litter.
John Lenzini, Carbondale Building and Neighborhood Services director, said residences throwing large parties in the city are expected to pick up trash by the next day.
He said the city gives the renters a notice usually the next day after the party. Once the tenants are given a written notice, they usually have until the next day to clean up the mess. Lenzini said the first offense is usually a $75 pay-by-mail ticket.
If that doesn’t work, the city has the option of issuing a notice to appear citation, which is a minimum of $225. If the second citation still doesn’t work, everyone on the lease could be subject to an individual ticket or the house could be subject to the city’s nuisance ordinance.
Lenzini said the fine process isn’t about the money, it’s about keep the city looking nice.
“It does us no good to drag money out of students,” he said. “It is about keeping them conscious about having trash in the yard and keeping things looking nice.”
He said it’s important for those who leave litter spread all over their yard and streets in Carbondale that there are consequences and it doesn’t help show Carbondale as a city that people would want to live in.
Keep Carbondale Beautiful performs monthly cleanups around the city. The next is scheduled for 1 p.m., on Sunday, Feb. 11. For more information, visit www.keepcb.org.