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Councilman Quirk's office to organize weekly community cleanup events in southwestern part of Baltimore County

Baltimore County Council Chairman Tom Quirk’s office is in the early stages of organizing weekly community cleanups in the council 1st District, which Quirk represents and which stretches from Baltimore Highlands to U.S. 70 and Woodlawn.

The first cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, beginning with a gathering and kickoff in the Sam’s Club parking lot, at the intersection of Ingleside Avenue and U.S. Route 40 in Catonsville. Cleanup of the surrounding area will follow.

“Over the past three years, trash complaints coming into the office have become overwhelming,” said Margaret Stokes, a legislative aide to Quirk.

She said the office works to send code-enforcement officers to private properties that are the targets of complaints, but public roadways, which is what the community cleanups will address, are trickier because of the erratic schedule of when they are cleaned.

“We still have our roadways that are inundated with trash,” Stokes said, and road crews are on cycles that result in some roads going weeks without being cleaned.

Cleanup events will run from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays through the fall, Quirk’s office said. The goal is to have multiple cleanups at the same time each weekend, Stokes said.

The district will be divided broadly into three sections — areas north of Route 40; the Catonsville area between Route 40 and Wilkens Avenue; and areas south of Wilkens Avenue.

About 20 people already have signed up to volunteer for the cleanups, Stokes said. The strategy is to create a few teams of volunteers that can spend an hour or longer targeting “hot spots” of trash and litter along roadways in each section of the district each weekend.

Quirk’s office will be providing trash bags, work gloves, visibility vests and trash-pickers. All the supplies are being donated, Stokes said. When the cleanups are completed, volunteers will be able to leave bagged garbage on-site for pickup either by the county or the State Highway Administration, depending on whether it’s a county or state roadway.

Interested volunteers can register online for cleanups on April 13, 20 or 27, or for future dates.

Residents can email to suggest locations for future cleanups. Quirk’s office will provide volunteer letters for students who are looking to complete community service hours.

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