Updated: Sep 23, 2019
Overflowing Outdoor Trash Can; Has Future Plans
Students from Village School and Seven Arrows walk past the Palisades Library every day to play at the park. Corpus Christi Elementary kids often pass by the library to go to school. And residents headed for the park pass the library, at the corner of Alma Real and Toyopa.
Everybody passes the always overflowing cement trash can. No matter the week or the month, the can is full, especially since November 2018.
“The level seemed to be fluctuating,” said Friends of the Library board member Nina Kidd said, “but it was never emptied.”
Finally, Kidd and Friends President Laura Schneider decided to ask if this was the library’s responsibility.
It is not—it’s on the street next to the parking meters.
So Kidd called the Department of Sanitation and asked if they could pick up the trash. She was told that trash can is not on their list, although the one a block away in front of the post office is. [The post office trash can is actually emptied by Chrysalis, which is paid by the Business Improvement District to clean out various trash cans within the District boundaries.]
“I wanted to do something because of the library ambience,” Kidd said. “I didn’t want this ugliness.”
On August 29, she and Schneider decided to empty the trash themselves. In the process, their good deed turned into kind of an archeological dig.
The plastic trash can was so firmly wedged inside the concrete trash structure, they had trouble getting it out. Once they did, the trash weighed almost 100 pounds.
Schneider said, “The bottom was compacted, and it had started composting and liquifying.” The smell was intense, fortified by dog poop.
They cleaned out the trash can the best they could, filling numerous garbage bags, and put the can back in the concrete structure with a fresh plastic garbage bag.
Kidd and Schneider have emptied the can twice since then.
Resident Bob Gold helped Overy Grant pry the plastic garbage can out of the cement holder.
On September 5, they got support from resident Marge Gold and Grant Overy of the nearby Pitstop Trash Bin Cleaning Service. Overy, the nephew of owners Kevin and Lindsey Miller, pulled up with his truck in the library parking lot.
Schneider had purchased a new plastic bin, which was good, because once Overy looked at the old bin, he declared it was too “gross” and too “far gone” to even clean.
Overy then focused on the concrete container, which looked like it had not been cleaned in a long time. He pressure washed the concrete, sucked out the water, and wiped out the remaining garbage so it could be disposed of properly. There were oohs and ahhs when Schneider, Kidd and Gold looked inside.
Overy, who works for Pitstop, a car detailing business that also cleans residential garbage cans, did the library job for free – and offered to help the Friends of the Library whenever they need it. “If it needs cleaning again, I’ll come back,” he said.
Kidd summed it up, “We’ve taken care of the short term, now we need to figure out a long-term solution.”
To keep the area neat and because of the heavy foot traffic on Alma Real, this trash can will most likely need to be emptied twice a week.
Unfortunately, the trash can in front of the library is not part of the BID. The BID boundary ends at the 881 Alma Real building, about 50 feet from the can.
Kidd will again call the Department of Sanitation to see what can be done. Gold told Schneider and Kidd that the Chrysalis workers, who come twice a week for BID, might be able to add one trash can to their route. It would have to be paid for separately. Or maybe P.R.I.D.E. would consider this site, too.
In the meantime, when you walk by the bin, notice the pleasant smell: Palisades Pitstop also deodorized the can.
Grant Overy from the Palisades Pitstop, power washed the interior of the trash barrel.
(Editor’s note: This trash can was another casualty once the Chamber of Commerce no longer supported trash pickup.
In 2017, the Chamber of Commerce, under Arnie Wishnick, sent out his annual letter asking residents if they’d like to donate to pay for trash pickup. The money was put in an account and used to pay Chrysalis.
Wishnick was replaced by Bob Benton and advised by Rick Lemmo (Caruso’s senior VP) that the Chamber “was not in the trash business” the money collected for trash was turned over to the Business Improvement District.
Unfortunately, the Village Green is not part of the BID, nor is the trash can in front of the library. The BID boundary ends at the 881 Alma Real Building.
The Marquez Business District and the area around Palisades High School were also previously covered through the Chamber cleanup but are also not part of the BID area. Palisades P.R.I.D.E. is taking care of the Marquez Business area.
Marge Gold, who serves on the Palisades Village Green board, said that the nonprofit park/board hired a gardener to empty trash cans three times a week and once Caruso’s Village opened, they had to hire an additional person to empty trash a fourth time, on Sunday.)