Welcome to Main Street Waterbury. It’s springtime and time for a good spring-cleaning especially downtown! If I sound like a broken record on litter issues…. so be it.

I will keep banging the drum for a cleaner downtown until we are spotless!

I have decided to publish a “top ten” list of constant trouble spots that need constant attention. Let’s start getting into specifics here. Hopefully, this will entice the businesses and building owners in front of these areas to help us keep them clean, as is their responsibility by ordinance, and serve as notice to the police to better monitor these areas so the slobs will be caught and issued a ticket.
#10- Phoenix Avenue – Near the E. Main Street side is a constant litter area with soda bottles and other litter clogging the storm drains.
#9 – W. Main and Meadow – from the corner down to the temporary labor agency. Apparently those waiting early in the morning in front of the place feel the need to discard their coffee cups and other food wrappers onto the sidewalk and into the gutter.
#8 – Buckingham Garage – at the corner of Bank and Grand. Those waiting for a bus in front of the Travel Center often leave a newspaper or coffee cup or soda bottle on the large concrete and brick island that they are sitting on despite the fact that there are several trash receptacles just several feet away. The debris eventually works its way into the gutter.
#7 – Center Street – at the corner of Bank Street in front of and on the side of the restaurant on the corner. This is a magnet area for cigarette butts and other trash as coffee cups and wrappers are just left in place from people who have been sitting on the sidewalk bench. On the Center street side, people who park there drop debris from their vehicles before leaving downtown. Disgusting!
#6 – Bank Street – Near Chinatown & City Styles. This area is victim of a wind tunnel to begin with so it is a catchall for all types of debris including many Dunkin Donuts bags, cups and napkins from across the street.
#5 – South Main And Bank – Around either side from Dunkin Donuts in front of the Apothecary Building. Immediately in front of the business is kept pretty clean but patrons feel the need to discard their D&D bags, bagel wrappers, coffee cups & lids, plastic stirrers, and napkins, further down Bank and South Main as they walk away. I often wonder at how many trash receptacles are passed by and never even considered, as the sidewalk and street become a better option for these lazy slobs to throw their garbage down.
#4 – West Main Street – In front of the Farrington Building and former Mattatuck Museum building. This is a constant trouble spot as those waiting for the bus, leave their soda bottles, coffee cups, chip wrappers and other litter on the ground, the steps, and dropped inside the chain link fence before boarding the bus, despite the fact that there is a trash can directly in front of them. It’s mind-boggling!
#3 – West Main Street- From Center to Willow on the First Congregational Church side. It’s drop as you go in this case. Apparently a candy wrapper is too heavy to carry to the next trashcan so let’s just release it from our hands while nobody is watching.
#2 – East Main – from Blimpies to the corner of Brook Street. This is another bus stop area where patrons feel the need to leave soda cups, pizza plates, and even those small “one shot” liquor bottles on the sidewalk and in the business alcoves and entrances before they leave downtown on the bus.
#1 – DRUM ROLL PLEASE – The number one litter trouble spot downtown…. South Main from Family Dollar down to the Leeward Building. This area is naturally a wind tunnel so any discarded litter tends to blow down S. Main on both sides. As I write this column, just hours after a City street sweeper cleaned this area, I can look out my office window and see a soda cup lid, two pizza paper plates, sugar packets, a crumpled up plastic grocery bag, a discarded brochure and more, just lazily blowing around on a warm spring morning.
Well there you have it. The top ten litter spots downtown. These areas are constantly being cleaned by the City, our “Clean Team”, The WDC blight crew and others and we are trying earnestly to stay ahead of it. Sometimes, some of the businesses will make an attempt to sweep and clean these areas, but they are chronic spots that need constant monitoring and not just once a day! This does not have to be the case if businesses, residents, and the rest of us pitch in to help. Do I sound outraged? You bet I am! And you should be too! Many tax dollars are being spent on clean up and enforcement. A clean downtown increases property values, encourages business and more visitors, makes people feel safe and secure, and leads to a thriving and vibrant pedestrian friendly environment. Yet we cannot get private investment and people to visit, if we cannot demonstrate that our community cares!
I intend on publishing this list from time to time. Hopefully, the list will get smaller. Hopefully, those areas on the list will work themselves off the list. Hopefully, no new areas will get on the list. Hopefully, there will be no list in the near future. Hopefully!
Although I’m addressing the issues in our downtown district, there are many other chronic litter trouble spots throughout the city. City clean crews and the WDC blight teams are working diligently to respond to these areas. WDC’s Mike Gilmore and Joe Davino, The Waterbury Police Dept., Joe Geary in the Mayor’s Office and many others are doing a tremendous job trying to fight what sometimes seems like an uphill battle.
Earth Day is celebrated throughout April in many communities across the US including Waterbury. Please help Mike Ptak and the Litter and Beautification Commission with their efforts to keep our entire City of Waterbury Clean and Beautiful and not just in April, but all year long! If you witness someone littering, call the authorities. You can call the Police Department at 574-6911 or the Citizen Service Center at 597-3444.
I will have more to report next month regarding events and activities for this summer in Downtown Waterbury. In the meantime, if you have any questions about our efforts or this column, you can contact me at 203-757-0701 ext. 302 or email me at crosa@mainstreetwaterbury.com and remember keep thinking Main Street Waterbury, Culture, Education, Business!