Where has this summer gone? It seems as if it has flown buy. I must say though, that much has gone on in downtown Waterbury this past summer with many great events and more to come. One event in particular promises to bring thousands to downtown and that is the second annual Brass City Brew Fest. It is scheduled for September 15th from 1-5PM at Library Park. This year we’re also featuring a Classic Car show on the same date at the same location starting at 11AM that same day.
The Brew Fest is a beer sampling event and major fundraiser for Main Street Waterbury. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Your ticket gets you access to sample from over 200 varieties of micro brews from around the US and other countries. An extra added feature this year will be a Belgian Beer tent featuring highly desired Belgian varieties for the beer connoisseur. Those who do not wish to drink or are designated drivers can get in for free and listen to some great music by three different bands.
Last year’s event attracted visitors from as far away as Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and most New England States. In terms of variety, the event this year promises to be the largest in the Northeast. If you are interested in going and want more information you can visit www.brasscitybrewfest.com
When the visitors arrive, there is no doubt they’ll find a clean downtown as the City of Waterbury’s clean crew with their Mad-Vacs, as well as the Clean Team and WDC’s anti blight crew have done a great job this summer staying ahead of the chronic litter problem particularly near the bus stops on the Green and at the corner of East Main and South Main.
Speaking of litter, most of my columns and comments that have addressed this matter have centered on general litter issues. However, I would like to focus this column on one aspect of litter that seldom gets the attentions it needs. That is the major problem with the “CIGARETTE BUTT”! Yes that small little left over filter, in white and brown that sticks in the cracks of our sidewalks, gets tossed into our streets and gutters, is doused in our planters, and is a general nuisance in all communities. My good friend and a true unsung hero in our community, Mike Gilmore, suggested to me last month that I dedicate my September column to this menace. Well Mike, here it is. Let’s get the word out!
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against smokers. We all have many habits we deal with. What I don’t respect and what we all should not tolerate is how smokers, almost unconsciously, when they are finished with the cigarette, toss the butt anywhere, thinking nothing of it and not realizing that it is LITTERING.
According to Keep America Beautiful statistics, cigarette butts make up a staggering 34% of a community’s overall litter. That’s right 34%. In some areas, the percentage is even greater. No way you say? Do me a favor. Some day, take a walk down Bank or Grand or around the Green for just 10 minutes and count how many butts you see on the ground. I think you will be astounded. One day last month I was walking on Leavenworth Street from Center to Kendrick and counted over 250 in just that short span and there are cigarette smoke posts in this area.
Who would do such a thing? Who would be that indifferent to litter our streets and sidewalks with butts? Let me tell you because I witness it every day. Professionals who stand outside their offices because they can’t smoke in the building.
Some merchants who will stand in front of their stores, smoke, and then walk to the edge of the sidewalk and “flick” the butt into the middle of Bank Street. People who hang around downtown, day in and day out, sitting on the park benches flicking the butts on the sidewalk. Drivers who toss the butt out of the car window while waiting at the traffic light. Then there are the real low-lifes who empty their car ashtrays in the gutter while they are parked downtown.
If you see someone doing any of this, it is your right and your obligation to politely ask them not to do it. There are plenty of ash trays and smoking receptacles downtown that these butts need not end up on the ground.
Remind them that tossing a butt is the same as dropping your candy wrapper or coffee cup on the ground, only those items are larger and seem to get more attention.
However, they are also easier to pick up with the Mad-Vac. This is not the case with a cigarette butt. They are much harder to pick up. Butts are not biodegradable. They sometimes wash into our catch basins and ultimately end up in streams and rivers. They are detrimental to wildlife and the tars remaining in the filters are a poison to nature. If you were to gather up all of the cigarette butts left on the ground in Waterbury, you would literally have thousands and thousands. Think about that for a minute.
Last December, we installed about 20 cigarette smoke posts around downtown. They have been making a difference in the areas where they are and smokers do use them. However, we could use many more. We need to educate smokers from the most intelligent to the simplest of minds. Butts are bad news. Enforcement would help!
How embarrassing would it be for the office worker when she’s standing outside the business where she works and she’s done with her cigarette, she stamps the butt out on the sidewalk with her pump; really mashing it down. Just then, a bike patrol officer, witnessing the event, rides over to her and issues her a ticket! Oh, if only that would happen.
Just once! I’m convinced, making an example of a few, would put everyone else on alert. Keep your butts to yourself and stop littering up our downtown! Period!!
In any event, Main Street Waterbury could really use your help. If you are interested in volunteering, please call my office. As always, we value your opinion. Feel free to contact me at 203-757-0701 ext. 302 or email at crosa@mainstreetwaterbury.com Don’t forget about the Brew Fest and remember keep thinking Main Street Waterbury, Culture, Education, Business!