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Cincinnati Parks launches campaign to keep city's green spaces clean

Posted at 4:56 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 16:56:01-04

CINCINNATI — At Seasongood Square in North Avondale there stands a sign that reads "Don't Trash the 'Nati."

But when Calvin Clark looks at the park near his home, or nearby Martin Luther King Junior Park, he said the litter that piles up makes him wonder if more signage is needed.

"(It) makes me mad...pisses me off, dirtying up the neighborhood," he said. "We got kids playing in this park."

When trash doesn't make it to the cans, Steven Crooms with Cincinnati Parks is one of the many who have to clean up the mess, piece by piece, bottle by bottle.

"It's a lot of work for a small group of people," he told WCPO. "With all the trash, (it) takes the majority of the day sometimes."

And he said it's not just trash: Sometimes park visitors will drive their vehicles onto the grass, damaging the lawn and getting too close for comfort to kids playing nearby.

"Big issue this year," Crooms said. "It's something we don't want them to do."

Cincinnati Parks deputy director Jenny Mobely agreed it's a growing concern.

"That's certainly a problem, especially near a playground," she said. "We encourage all vehicles to stay on paved surfaces."

Due to budget cuts in recent years, Mobely said, the parks department no longer has dedicated staff to monitor and enforce park rules against littering and driving onto the grass. Now, the parks rely on Cincinnati police officers to do that.

A police spokesperson told WCPO the department does dedicate patrols to the city's parks, but ticketing for these violations is rare.

It also means Cincinnati Parks relies on the public to police themselves, too.

"The more the public can use the garbage cans, (it) would benefit not only our staff but the public themselves," she said.