EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A new plan to clean up East Baton Rouge Parish could bring some major changes to the capital city. It’s part of Operation Fresh Start, an initiative pushed by Mayor Sharon Weston Broome in 2018, to address blight issues around the parish.
One resident says he fought to get a trash pile cleaned up for an entire year. He says it’s hard to have pride in a community surrounded by blight.
“I spent a lot of time within this wheelchair fixing the garden and everything, trying to make my house look good, and I’m doing the best I can, and I hate for somebody to come like that and make my house look bad,” said Stanley Lee.
Fortunately, the Department of Public Works (DPW) began the first day of a week-long cleaning effort as part of Operation Fresh Start. Kyle Huffstickler, supervisor, says they are eager to help with getting the city clean, but he says they cannot do it alone.
“This is one of many throughout the different neighborhoods where we have illegal dumping, and this one of the issues and epidemics that we face every day with trying to keep the city clean, and people are just finding areas, vacant lots and using them as dumping sites, so makes it difficult for us,” said Huffstickler.
Huffstickler says they remain determined to keep the city clean. Lee says the city-parish’s efforts help reinstate a sense of pride for residents.
“It makes me want to do even more to my yard. I got leaves and stuff, I don’t mind picking them up now. I’m just glad that somebody is doing something about it now, you know. I’m glad somebody’s even coming out to take a chance and see what’s going on," Lee said.
Huffstickler says they will also work aggressively to reduces the number of work orders currently in the system.