published Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Community spring cleaning projects coming soon for Bradley County

Somebody's sofa sat soaking in Saturday's showers a short distance from a shopping area just off Keith Street in Cleveland, Tenn.
Somebody's sofa sat soaking in Saturday's showers a short distance from a shopping area just off Keith Street in Cleveland, Tenn.
Photo by Randall Higgins.


• 11,905 volunteers

• 71,181 volunteer hours

• 333 programs, workshops and cleanup events

Source: Bradley County Keep America Beautiful


TDEC: 888-891-TDEC (8332).

Bradley KAB Litter Hotline: 559-3307.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- It soon will be time for community spring cleaning projects.

According to those attending a recent Coalition for Community Improvement Committee meeting here, there is plenty of work to do.

The annual Great American Cleanup campaign begins March 1 and continues through May 31, said Joanne Maskew, executive director of Keep America Beautiful of Bradley County.

Dates for recycle and cleanup events will be announced later, she said.

The community coalition links people who cannot clean up their own properties for reasons such as age or health with volunteers who can do the work.

All 95 Tennessee counties have held Great American Cleanup events for five consecutive years, according to Keep Tennessee Beautiful, headquartered at the University of Memphis.

The number of volunteers and their results were greater than ever last year, Maskew said, because of the April 27 tornadoes in addition to the routine litter problems.

"Volunteers help keep down expenses in our community," Maskew said.

For every dollar going into Keep America Beautiful last year, Maskew said, the average return was $3 to $5, depending on the project.

"The state spends about $12 million a year on litter control, I have read," said County Commissioner Ed Elkins, a coalition member. "That's $12 million we could spend on other things if we just didn't throw things on the roadsides."

That cost, he said, does not include the volunteers or involuntary, court-ordered work performed under corrections programs.

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Illegal dumping is a separate problem but goes hand in hand with litter.

Cleveland Codes Enforcement officer Criss Caywood said he is getting an increased number of complaints, especially about used tires.

There could be several reasons, Caywood said. Some people are trying to avoid the landfill fee. Some people who live in rural areas with no municipal garbage pickup may just dump on roadsides for convenience.

The Bradley County Landfill has seen no decrease in volume, said Cheryl Dunson of Santek Environmental, the contract operator of the county landfill.

"Most illegal dumping is not done by commercial haulers. Usually it is individuals who don't want to pay the fee," she said.

Typically the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation does not launch an investigation until someone complains, Dunson said. This time of year, when leaves are off the trees, those sites become more visible.

"Unfortunately, illegal dumping does occur," Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Tisha Calabrese-Benton said. "TDEC has not documented an increase lately. It is certainly the time of year when these types of dumps are more noticeable."

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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