Grand Junction's Annual Spring Cleanup program is underway, and once again, I'm not a particular fan. The program itself is a great idea. Unfortunately, its execution needs a little work.

This was the scene late last night (Tuesday, April 11) when arriving home from the studio. A pile of trash thrown all over the sidewalk and part of my yard. Not only that, some of my landscaping had been torn up and moved.

Please don't misunderstand my complaint. The Spring Cleanup Program is a great idea. My argument isn't with the city or the program's design. Rather, my disenchantment is with the public and the way citizens carry out their end of this free service.

The guidelines for the program are clear:

  • Set the trash in front of YOUR house
  • Trash cannot be set out ahead of your area's scheduled pickup dates
  • Discarded items need to be clear of fences, shrubbery, sidewalks, etc

The neighborhood in the photos above is located in Orchard Mesa. The Annual Spring Cleanup Program won't even begin reaching that part of town until April 17 at the absolute earliest. Why is this trash sitting in the street a full six days before cleanup crews begin working that side of town?

Some residents on this street began placing trash out in front of their homes over a week ago. Doesn't that seem a bit premature?

My neighborhood includes an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair and a number of children who walk to school. I do not enjoy the idea of seeing them diverted out in the street due to the fact the sidewalk is clogged with garbage.

It is probably safe to say the trash was originally placed in a tidier pile; not scattered all over the sidewalk and my yard. Unfortunately, another side-effect of this program involves the "raiders" who drive around and rummage through the trash. By the time they get through, garbage is scattered everywhere.

Again, the program is a great idea. It falls upon us to execute it properly. A little common sense and a touch of courtesy make for an excellent spring cleanup. The lack of these two elements results in the opposite. The Annual Spring Cleanup Program is not a free-for-all during which people can be careless and discourteous.