New team tasked with keeping Merced clean

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Along with targeting rundown homes, the city is also working on cleaning up trash, and citing the people who illegally dump on city property.

The view is unsightly, tires and trash in alleyways and along the street. Merced city officials say they're tired of seeing it and have now created a task force to clean up the mess.

The Neighborhood Refuse Response team is a two-man team responding to calls regarding trash on sidewalks, in alleyways, and alongside roads.

It is a problem citywide, Lanie Gladwin is a resident and the founder of MercedWalks. Her group started as a way to promote exercise but now, it's a group working to clean heaps of trash from parks and creeks.

"What we're dealing with out here on average is 600,000 pounds at a time," Gladwin said.

Gladwin is glad the city is taking a proactive approach to the issue, but also thinks there needs to be a more permanent solution for homelessness.

Stephanie Dietz says the trash is a top concern for the community. She says while a lot of it comes from transients, some of it is also from residents not using the landfill. The city working on opening a closer location for people to dump their trash.

"To take these two workers, develop a route, and also open a satellite location for residents to come and drop off any garbage they may have legally to avoid those illegal dumping in the future," Dietz said.

The task force is out looking for trash every day. Residents can also upload a picture of trash they want cleaned up to the Merced Connect app which will immediately notify the crew, and send them to their next cleanup location.
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