Written by Kera Mashek, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
The city of Waterloo is taking new steps to tackle a problem with trash. A new initiative will enforce clean-up measures to shape up properties across town. The "Beautify Waterloo" initiative will initially focus on the area from W. 4th to W. 7th, and from Locust to the Cedar River.
A couple of new efforts are kicking in to help reduce the mess, To keep more eyes on problem areas and even issue fines if necessary.
Mike Cafaro likes the low-cost space of his new insurance office on W. Fourth Street in Waterloo. But after being there just a year, he's starting to not like one of the neighborhood's chronic problems.
"Litter's been a big problem. It's kind of disgusting that people treat their neighborhood like that," said Mike Cafaro, Preferred Rate Insurance owner.
That's exactly why the city is taking new steps in an effort to cut back the amount of trash. Code enforcement officers will be targeting property owners who let litter pile up. Those who don't pick it up could face fines for the city to come clean up the mess.
"The point of this program, this project, is not to write tickets or issue citations, it's to bring awareness to the business owners, to the property owners, that they are responsible for their property," said Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark.
Mike Cafaro isn't sure it's fair to put property owners on the hook for litter they didn't leave behind, he says it's good to see the city doing something to tackle the trash problem.
"I like the idea of the place being cleaned up!" Cafaro said.
Ultimately the goal is to make Waterloo a pretty city.
"We don't want people coming to our town or through our town and have to see blight or litter or tall grass, or a city that looks to be unkempt. We have so much to be proud of in our city. That really casts a negative image that we don't want and don't deserve," said Mayor Clark.
When code enforcement officers find a property with a trash problem, they'll first try to talk with the owner. If that person isn't available, a written notice will be sent, giving them 10 days to clean-up or face fines.
While the "Beautify Waterloo" initiative will start in two neighborhoods, Mayor Clark is hopeful that it can eventually be expanded to reduce litter city-wide.
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