The city of Delaware is in search of solutions to handle trash violations in the downtown area and memorial displays citywide.
The Public Works/Public Utilities Committee had lengthy discussions about the two subjects at its regular meeting Tuesday night. Members discussed how to handle trash that’s placed on the curbside for too long in the downtown district, which includes William,Winter, Spring, Franklin, Union and Sandusky streets and Central Avenue.
“We’re trying to keep the downtown clean,” said Bill Ferrigno, director of public works/city engineer.
The core issue is not the quantity of the trash but the frequency, he said. Violators in the district tend to leave trash on the curbs Friday afternoon, which won’t be picked up until Monday.
Some residents in the downtown also don’t have a direct access to a dumpster because some older buildings don’t accommodate the modern necessities. There’s also a convenience issue for some tenants that would have to walk a quarter mile to the nearest dumpster.
Vice Mayor Kent Shafer said the trash issue is similar to the parking situation, as more people start living in the downtown area.
City Council member Lisa Keller said more action needs to be taken to hold property owners and tenants accountable. Proposals discussed included a progressive fine and requiring property owners to have a place for their tenants to dispose of their trash. Ferrigno said he would meet with business owners to discuss the issue.
The city engineer also asked the committee for the best way to create a policy to handle memorial displays where loved ones were killed in traffic crashes.
“It is a sensitive issue,” Ferrigno said. “We don’t want to be ruthless.”
But the city has no policy about such displays, he added. There are at least three memorial displays throughout the city including one at London Road and U.S. 42 that’s been maintained for about 15 years.
“We don’t know who put it up,” Ferrigno said.
The committee discussed other alternatives, such as providing a place with trees that each carry a memorial plaque or allowing the displays for a 30-day period.
“What they want to do is remember where that person died,” Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said. She suggested placing a small memorial plaque on the nearest tree where an accident occurred.
But Ferrigno said it could be a daily, haunting reminder for people, who were involved with a traffic accident.
And Shafer said there needs to be more discussion with the police department as displays could be a distraction for other drivers.
In other business, the committee received an update about the city’s advanced metering infrastructure, which will provide automated water meter readings. Public Utilities Director Brad Stanton said a soft start will begin with the 500 homes at Kensington Place subdivision off of State Route 521. Installation will begin Aug. 1 and be completed within five days.
Stanton said his department will monitor the system for two weeks and will expand it citywide if the soft start has no serious issues.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.