Clean-Up Crew starts work on downtown York

Sean Philip Cotter

The Clean-Up Crew who keeps downtown York City tidy is back for another year and has continued to expand.

The group of four people started work Monday and will work four hours a day, five days a week, emptying all the trash bags from the public garbage cans and picking up litter, said York County Solid Waste Authority community relations manager Ellen O'Connor at a news conference Monday morning.

Ellen O'Connor

The members of the crew work for Downtown Inc, which focuses on rejuvenating the downtown area of the city, and are paid with $21,000 from the Solid Waste Authority, she said. They'll do this every week until the weather gets bad next winter, with another worker coming in for additional reinforcement during the summer months.

Last year, with just four workers during a shorter year, they disposed of 12,800 bags of trash, said Tim Miller, acting director of Downtown Inc, which is a quasi-governmental organization that's a combination of a city authority and a nonprofit organization.

O'Connor said the trash eventually is burned for fuel.

"It's a win-win, not just for the city, but for everyone in York County," she said.

And also there's a "concierge effect," Miller said — the folks cleaning up around downtown end up knowing every nook and cranny of the 26-block area, he said, so they can give good directions to anything around town.

The program has been around since 2011, when it started off with just two members working only a few months during the summer. This year is the earliest the program has started, Miller said.

Many of the people who have rotated through the program have been sent that way by the local YMCA, he said.

"Guys looking for a change, looking to get back into the working world," he said.

At the news conference, held in the northeast corner of Continental Square in the middle of York City on Monday morning as a chill in the air belied the fact that spring had recently sprung, city folk also highlighted other programs aimed at keeping the city clean.

Tom Landis, the city's superintendent for parks and recreation, talked about the city's Take 10 on Tuesday Initiative, which is intended to inspire people to take 10 minutes to clean the areas outside their homes and businesses.

"Tomorrow, roll up your sleeves and get active," he said.

City council vice president Michael Helfrich, who's also the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, spoke about efforts to keep the Codorus Creek clean. He said the city has teamed up with the Army Corps of Engineers, who maintains the creek through the city, to keep it clean with fewer chemicals. He said the Greener Codorus Initiative will hold cleaning efforts July 15 through 17.

Tom Smith of Keep York Beautiful, whose organization invites people to take part in the citywide cleanup effort Saturday, April 9, talked about his organization's partnership with the York County Food Bank.

"At their future location, we'll be constructing a greenhouse and a pollinator garden there," he said. The food bank is located at 254 W. Princess St. but plans to move to 550 E. King St.

— Reach Sean Cotter or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.