JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – People who live along Ken Knight Drive in the Washington Heights neighborhood no longer have to walk out their door and see and smell piles of trash that they said went uncollected for a long period of time.
After listening to residents’ concerns about the heaps of trash, News4Jax contacted City Hall on Monday morning. Within hours, the city sent multiple crews to the area to pick up the trash and haul it away.
“It was a surprise, but a pleasant surprise. This trash had been sitting out here for months at a time,” said resident Alice Hartsfield. “Some of us want to come out and sit in our front yard, but we see trash or smell it.”
Eunice Barnum and Ayesha Covington don’t live in the area, but they know people who do. Despite crews coming to clean up, they had questions about why it took so long for the cleanup to happen.
“You shouldn’t depend on us or the media or the community to keep calling you creating tickets,” Covington said.
Barnum said: “Where are all these people we are paying salaries to who go to work every day? This is their duty. This is their job. This is their responsibility. But yet, the job is going undone.”
A garbage collector told News4Jax he believes someone is coming into the community and using the area as their own dumping ground.
“And that may very well be so, but does that give it a right to lay there for months?” Barnum said.
A city employee supervising the cleanup effort told News4Jax off-camera that they have been trying to catch people illegally dumping trash in this area, but every time the city installs security cameras to catch dumpers in the act, someone destroys the cameras. The supervisor was also upset because he said the people the city contracts to pick up trash from assigned garbage and recycle bins have seemingly driven past the piles but neglected to call his department so that city crews with larger pieces of equipment could come out and take care of the problem.
“The people who come to pick up the trash don’t pick it all up,” resident Terquinna Chapman said.
A City Hall spokesperson told News4Jax that they have previously fined contractors for not doing their jobs because there have been similar complaints in other areas of the city.