South Bend illegal trash dumping program running out of money

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --  The program is designed to helped clean up parts of South Bend, but now funds to stop illegal dumping could are running out.

Back in September, a South Bend woman could not get the city to come pick up the illegal trash being dumped in the alleys behind her house.

ABC 57 News aired a story when the code enforcement was slow to react and the trash was cleaned up the very next day.

Since then, common council members have taken notice and have jumped into action, creating a program dedicated to fixing the problem. The program has proved successful in the six months since it has been create. The city say, in that short time, the program has picked up 3 million pounds of trash.

"I enjoy going outside now. I don't have to smell all that horrible smell from waste and trash," said Harper.

Six months ago, the alley behind Lorraine Harper's Longley Avenue home was filthy. Right after ABC 57 News aired a story on the problem, crews cleaned it up. However, the city has not stop there. Crews have been cleaning up other illegal dumping sites ever since.

"We really did and aggressive attack. We brought in a number of individuals, a larger crew  to clean up as much of it as possible," said at large common council member Karen White.

"Now, you look down the alley and it looks like home, like someone around here cares about their neighborhood," said Harper.

"It's a vast improvement," others who live on Longley Avenue, like Raymond Brooks, are pleased with the success and want the program to continue.

"It would be a really shame to see a program end before it really had a chance to show everyone the difference it can make," said Brooks.

The problem now, is that the funding is drying up. The illegal dumping program was set up on a temporary basis, at first. The city handed over $190,000 to help the program get up and running. Now, the city needs to find a way to fund the program on a long-term basis.

"I would hate for us to have started this program and not be able to sustain it and that was one of the goals we talked about with administration," said White.

To get more money funnel into the program, a proposal is now being drafted by the city. The proposal will then be presented to the common council, next week.

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