Earth Day: Dickinson spring cleanup starts Monday, last through MayEarth Day is here, but Dickinson businesses, residents and officials are taking more than the designated environmental awareness day to make an effort at cleaning up the city.
Earth Day is here, but Dickinson businesses, residents and officials are taking more than the designated environmental awareness day to make an effort at cleaning up the city.
“The first impression that a lot of people have when they drive through town, in part, is an evaluation of how clean a community is, and then they extrapolate from that,” City Administrator Shawn Kessel said. “Making a good impression is important, and preserving the quality of life that we have stuck so much time, effort and money into is well worth
The city-wide Spring Cleanup Committee Campaign begins Monday and will last until May 14. The promotion, which is chaired by Marathon Oil asset manager Terry Kovacevich in Dickinson, is meant to get residents and businesses fired up about city upkeep, Fire Chief Bob Sivak said Saturday.
He added that for the first time in Dickinson, May 3 will be designated as Spring Cleanup Day. It is an experiment for the committee’s plan to shorten up the three-week cleaning session to three days or less.
Kovacevich did not immediately return phone calls to The Dickinson Press on Saturday.
There are more people living in Dickinson because of an oil boom in western North Dakota, Sivak said. Garbage has become an issue, and the strong winds scattering it around doesn’t help.
“I drove past an area up on the north end of town that I know people have been cleaning up and picking up,” the fire chief said. “Today (Saturday), fast-food wrappers and tissue and bags and everything is covering the area just like it had never been touched.”
Businesses, especially developers, are asked to be aware of the pollution risks associated with high-wind gusts and take precautions such as covering trash bins.
The committee and city are also trying to restore a program similar to Adopt-a-Highway for streets in town, Kessel said. Signs would be dedicated to those who take care of their designated streets.
“We’ve had an Adopt-a-Street similar program for a while in Dickinson, but it has not been as coordinated or needed as it is today,” he said.
Dickinson hired help from the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehabilitation Center in New England to cleanup city area and plans to hire part-time staff for the job.
City commissioners are also reviewing an ordinance that would lower littering penalties from up to $1,000 and 30 days in jail to $200. The current fine is excessive, officials said at a Monday commission meeting at City Hall, and lowering the fine would push officers to issue more tickets.
“When there is littering that occurs in an officer’s presence, he can take that immediate action to cite and release rather than having to either take someone into custody, require a bond or to require a court appearance,” Dickinson Police Department Capt. Joe Cianni said Friday.
Cianni was unable to track how many citations were issued for littering, adding it is a rare offense because an officer has to witness the crime.
Fining may not deter people from littering, said Jerry Volk, executive director of the North Dakota Solid Waste and Recycling Association.
“I did call the mayor … and put an idea into his head about instead of fining maybe what they ought to do is if someone throws out waste they should just be put on the cleanup detail,” he said.
Keeping the city clean is just a matter of people staying aware of the situation, Volk said.
“It’s real,” he said. “People get into habits. We are trying to solve a problem for everybody here.”