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Garbage piles still a problem on west side of South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Illegal dumping on South Bend's west side has been a problem for many years. People throw their trash in alleyways behind vacant homes. Residents say a big pile of garbage off Linden Avenue has been there for weeks.

Many residents have been dealing with the trash issue for years.

"People will go through the alleyway and dump their trash wherever they can," said Lisa Cross.

We drove around looking for problem spots within the city and it didn't take long to find them.

Need a place to sit? Try a South Bend alleyway, there's no shortage of couches.

Community leaders say trash piles have become all too common, and they're struggling to get a handle on it.

"South Bend is not unique. There are a lot of counties, cities, and areas facing the same situations we have," said Jerry Niezgodski of the Neighborhood Resources Corporation.

Niezgodski says part of the problem is land owners.

Last year, he and others hoped to create an ordinance requiring landlords to have a local contact register with the city so when properties start to get out of hand, it's easier to hold someone accountable.

The only problem is the state said no.

"I won't say I'm frustrated, but I will say this is just how government works sometimes," said Niezgodski.

Earlier this year, legislators approved House Bill 1313 which puts a ban on creating any new regulations for landlords until 2014.

That means trash will likely keep piling up.

Code enforcement can only do so much.

"I think if anything, it gives us more incentive to get the job done right, when we get the opportunity, and take advantage of it when we can," said Niezgodski.

In the coming weeks, community leaders hope to create a volunteer registry where landlords can sign up on their own accord.

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