EAST LIVERPOOL - Rather than depend upon the street department to clean up their weeds and debris, property owners need to take that responsibility upon themselves, according to city ordinance.
That was the response from Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell to an Ohio Avenue resident's complaints during this week's City Council meeting.
Referring to complaints he has seen on Facebook and blogs, resident Brian Kerr asked, "Is East Liverpool becoming just weeds? They're not being taken care of. If you're trying to bring business into the city, it doesn't take much to cut the weeds."
Estell, however, said many of the weeds being talked about online are those in front of local businesses, pointing out that city ordinance requires property owners to take care of those themselves.
"Most of what is being complained about are other people's responsibility, not the city's," Estell emphasized.
He conceded that weeds to which Kerr referred in Devon's Diamond will be addressed, saying the gardens there had traditionally been tended by groups and individuals in the past, and he wasn't sure why that had not been the case this year.
Estell also pointed out this has been a high growth season due to heavy rains and that the street department is "extremely low" on manpower, even though summer youth workers did help this summer.
"It takes more than just city employees to handle it," he stressed, saying a civic pride coalition had worked for awhile, cleaning up debris and weeds but the same handful of people kept showing up with no new participation.
"There is only so much a small group can do. You have to have community action to have community survival. It can't be one or two people and the same one or two every time," Estell said, noting he had been one of those involved in the coalition.
Estell said the city will provide brooms, shovels and other equipment, and the street department will continue to pick up collected weeds and trash, saying, "The street department gets unfairly knocked on many issues, and a lot of them care deeply about the city. Instead of getting pats on the back, people get on Facebook or their blogs and unfairly malign them."
Councilman Sherrie Curtis said she had spotted a woman cleaning up litter along Pennsylvania Avenue and said it is good to see people policing their areas, saying, "I appreciate people who do these things."
Curtis is one of those who volunteers to clean Spring Grove Cemetery on a regular basis, and she said, "There is a certain element that thinks this world is their garbage dump."
Councilman Russell Dray, who has volunteered to clean playgrounds for four years, said city workers "did a fine job this year," but said a tractor with a cutting bar is needed.