Neighbors say Benton Harbor street is a 'landfill'

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Neighbors said Valley Drive in Benton Harbor looks more like a ‘landfill’ than a street and are getting fed up. The city of Benton Harbor says it can’t keep up with all the illegal dumping going in one particular neighborhood.

A rusty, faded sign stands across the street from an abandoned building on Valley Drive. The sign reads “No Dumping” but it might as well say “Dump Here”. Right next to the sign is one of biggest piles of garbage on the street.

Victoria Johnson has lived on the street since the 1970’s and said dumping happens all along the street, not just by the sign. “Tires, furniture, boxes, trash, anything,” she said.

Johnson said people dump truck-loads of garbage on the street every day. “I’d say (there are) 200 unused tires,” Johnson said, pointing out piles of 20 along the street.

“I don’t throw my stuff in your yard,” said Larry Main, another Valley Drive resident. “It makes you wonder why they’d throw stuff in my yard.”

Main said he confronts people dumping when he sees it, but to him it’s fighting a losing battle.“They tell me they didn’t think it was wrong to dump down there.”

Benton Harbor Deputy City Manager Darwin Watson said the city sends crews to clean the street “all the time” but it’s difficult to keep up with the dumping. Watson said in the summer the Department of Public Works is at the location once per week.

Watson said trying to keep up with the dumping is costing the city “a lot of money” but they can’t hire someone to “stand guard 24-7.”

“It would be hard to sit down there all day and watch them so you’d almost have to put something down there to catch them,” said Main.

“They could put some cameras up so they could see what’s really going on,” said Johnson “We as citizens can’t do much but complain.”

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