We expect a lot of reaction again this year when the Enid City cleanup gets under way.
Last year, City Manager Eric Benson and the City Commission made a concentrated effort to clean up certain parts of the community that, quite frankly, had been neglected for some time.
This year, the city cleanup effort will be more widespread, and with that kind of expansion comes a need for some major organization.
The city cleanup effort is a good thing for the community. It’s a time for people to consciously work to make their properties more attractive. And, it’s a time for the city to concentrate on certain properties whose owners or renters refuse to live by acceptable community standards.
We would like to see some different actions take place this year in the organized cleanup effort.
First, we believe the city should encourage a community-wide yard-sale or garage sale weekend prior to the official cleanup. The News & Eagle already has designated March 28-30 as the third city-wide garage sale. The city should endorse this effort and encourage people to sell as much extra stuff as they can during those times.
Following that event, the city should also organize and encourage pick up of items not sold at these sales. Several organizations in town run thrift shops where quality items are needed. Perhaps they could organize to help take in items that are not sold in the city-wide sale.
The next step would be to offer similar services as last year, where the city will pick up items to take the landfill. However, last year too many stacks of junk lay on the curbs for too long. The city should either contract for certain period of time with haulers to pick the items up, or should offer drop-off points throughout the city where people can haul their junk there.
After those events have been accomplished, then it’s time to start with the punitive actions. There needs to be more publicity or advertising to residents about any free assistance they can get before fines start being levied.
We agree that more should be expected of residents in regards to keeping their properties clean and safe. There has to be a balance, however, between encouraging acceptable behavior and coming off as heavy-handed or too restrictive.
Giving residents time and options is one way to help get their buy-in on a cleanliness project.