Times staff report
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved spending more than $350,000 on Operation Green Wave, a city-wide project designed to cut grass in vacant lots and clear right of ways and alleys.
City officials say the project has been an overwhelming success with more than 10,000 lots cut and cleared since the project was launched on Sept. 12, 2016.
“We have challenged our employees to channel all of our public works resources to getting the neighborhoods cleaned and cut,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell.
Green Wave has touched 11 of 23 communities and 62 of 99 neighborhoods. Crews are currently in the Kingston and the South Woodlawn neighborhoods.
Council members say spending money in the neighborhoods is a priority.
“As far back as 2015 the council took a position that it is as important and necessary to focus efforts on community and neighborhood revitalization as it is on downtown, not to say downtown is not important,” said Council President Johnathan Austin.
With additional funding now in place the city can finish all 23 communities over the next 6-8 week period before starting over at the beginning, said city officials.
“We are going all over the city. We are not targeting any particular area. We are trying to hit the worse areas first,” Bell said.
Since the cleanup began, 100 trucks, 500 city employees and every piece of equipment the city owns has been utilized working 10 hour days, 5 days a week cutting grass in vacant lots and clearing right of ways and alleys throughout the city, they said. In addition, code enforcement officials and environmental police have tagged and removed inoperable vehicles.
A number of city departments are involved in the cleanup, the mayor said.
“Equipment management continues to be on standby to fix equipment, the Municipal Court is conducting Community Courts to support code enforcement and the Community Development Department will follow up with information for residents on how to acquire the vacant properties through our Land Bank Authority and RISE programs starting next month,” Bell said.
In addition, the City’s Planning, Engineering and Permits (PEP) department has continued to tear down vacant houses.
City official say this is the first time departments have taken a holistic approach to not only cleaning up the City but sustaining the progress by utilizing every facet of city government.
|Green Wave’s most recent numbers are as follows:Tonnage collected 64,748
Lots cut 10, 257
Alleys Cut 1,826
Ditches cut 1,197
Right of Ways cut 15,037