SPRINGFIELD – On June 1, At-Large City Councilor Bud L. Williams and Ward 5 Councilor Marcus Williams met with reporters on the corner of Fargo Street and Boston Road to discuss problems and solutions to the recent illegal dumping issues.
The press conference was conducted directly in front of a large pile of rock and cement inside a fenced off construction area, the site of a proposed housing project.
Both Bud and Marcus discussed their frustrations with the lack of progress on the project in the lot as well as the harm that a pile of that size could cause to children in the surrounding neighborhood who might play on it.
The councilors also noted the potential for illegal dumping that a vacant lot like this attracts. Illegal dumping has been an issue on the rise in Springfield not only in the fifth ward but all areas of the city, they said.
When asked about whether or not the councilors are addressing illegal dumping in other parts of the city, Marcus stated, “It has certainly been discussed by other councilors, but I don’t think there are any ordinances in place to target that. Hopefully we can join and collaborate on ways to alleviate this situation.”
City Building Commissioner Steve Desilets noted that the most common solutions the city uses to prevent illegal dumping are to properly close off vacant lots to impede vehicles from coming in, and to put up barriers that are high enough to prevent people from entering the area.
However, these measures are not always effective, which has lead to the recent implementation of video surveillance cameras on different sites around the city.
“We’ve got quite a few sites where remote cameras are set up. At any given time somebody’s not going to know if or where these camera are set up, and they run the risk of having their vehicles or their faces being recorded illegally dumping on camera,” Desilets said.
Desilets continued, “If you see a suspicious vehicle in an area that tends to have a lot of dumping, keep an eye on it, take a picture of the vehicle, get the plate number and don’t be afraid to call the police department. Our flex squad in the city will follow up on it.”
Marcus stressed that supporting initiatives for legal dumping areas in the city would also help prevent these problems from occurring, specifically citing the success of the legal dumping location by Sixteen Acres and the Watson B. Duncan Middle School.
Springfield residents with bulk pickup items can purchase an $8 sticker at Big Y markets and dial 311 to set up a time and place for a pick up.
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