As the efforts to clean up downtown sidewalks continue, so does the effort to find a way to prevent the mess, said Public Works Director Mark Fachin.
Although curb and gutter cleanup goes on three times a week throughout the year, power washing bird droppings from the sidewalks does not.
“We do it periodically,” he said. “This year and last year, we did it four times a year. We just don’t have the staff or budget to do it more often.”
The city was able to power clean the sidewalks, mainly where the bird problem is, on Sixth Street and one street heading east and one street heading west.
Trying to clean up the mess, mainly on Sixth Street, is driven by how bad the issue and how bad the problem becomes, he said. “It becomes unsanitary,” he said.
Since most downtown businesses want the cleanup done, city staff has been looking at ways to get rid of the bird problem, just as they have done in the past, because cleanup is expensive. “Other cities do not seem to have the same problem as we do,” he said. “Merchants need to clean in between because we can’t (clean) it every week.”
It can also become expensive to find a way to get rid of the birds altogether. “We’ll narrow it down,” he said. “But again, it becomes a budget issue.”
Last year the city moved predatory sounds around town. “It didn’t work very much,” he said.
City Manager Steve Carrigan said city staff is working on a long-term solution. “I think we had some good ideas,” he said. “We are still in the research stage.”
“No matter what they do, they will return,” Fachin said.
Meanwhile, the city is also installing new benches that had been found in a warehouse. “It was a pretty nice find,” Carrigan said. “We will put them into good use.”
When the installation is complete, around 10 new benches and trash bins will be placed in the downtown area.