Spring Cleaning Starts

With spring just around the corner, watch for budding trees, returning song birds—and a massive citywide cleanup.

Officials announced the spring cleaning push Friday at a City Hall press conference complete with brooms and shovels and a tray of blooming pansies.

The plan is to commence a citywide beautification drive, starting on the west side of town, with the aim of reaching the east side at the end of the summer. The city is offering classes on planting and trash separation and teaming up with Quinnipiac University students for a big cleaning operation on April 5. Businesses and community groups will also be enlisted in the effort.

“Spring is in the air,” said Mayor Toni Harp. “What do all of us do in the spring? Spring cleaning.”

Harp said the idea originated from public works staffer Honda Smith (pictured).

Smith said the city will offer classes on Mondays in March at the Shree Nathji Haveli on Pond Lily Avenue at 6 p.m. Christy Hass, deputy parks chief, said people can learn about planting annuals.

Smith said classes will teach people about the city’s cleanliness ordinances and how to keep up their properties. There will be a contest at some point for the most beautiful property.

Smith said city staff will work on trimming trees, to increase visibility in neighborhoods. Work will start in Wards 27 and 30—upper Westville and West Rock—Smith said.

Harp (pictured) was given a pansy at the end of the press conference.

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posted by: HewNaven on March 10, 2014  8:15am

I understand Honda Smith is a Westrock resident, and kudos to her for such an idea. But, holding the classes on Pond Lily and beginning the cleaning on the west side of town reeks of favoritism to Smith. Why not branch out from the green, or circle the perimeter and clean toward the center?

posted by: getyourfactstraight on March 10, 2014  9:51am

Photo opportunist mayor, this one I support completely! Hoping this is successful as our city could use this type of activity. Good job Honda.

posted by: Greg-Morehead on March 10, 2014  11:00am

Harp (pictured) was given a pansy at the end of the press conference.

posted by: TheMadcap on March 10, 2014  12:48pm


If they started from the Green, people would be complaining(and I’d say rightfully so) that the city is again just focusing on improving the parts of the city Yalies go to. I imagine there’s not enough manpower to do the entire perimeter at once.

posted by: TheMadcap on March 10, 2014  12:53pm

I like this idea in general though. I tried(rather unsuccessfully, turns out organizing even a few people is harder than it looks) to start a guerrilla gardening group for NH to try to get some people together to beautify the city with plants.

” teaming up with Quinnipiac University students”
Not that this is bad, but, where’s Yale? QU isn’t even in New Haven.

posted by: HewNaven on March 10, 2014  1:45pm

Of course the towngreen district is well taken care of, but what about the neighborhoods that surround downtown/medical dist.? That’s where spring cleaning should start. Neighborhoods like Dwight, Dixwell, West River, and the neglected part of Wooster Square near the G (Farnam Courts). They deserve it just as much, and I’d hate to see them left behind for Westville which already looks pretty clean.

posted by: robn on March 10, 2014  2:28pm

All due respect to Ms Smith but this has already been going on all over the city.

URI Community Greenspace program.

It would be nice to see it more though!

posted by: FacChec on March 10, 2014  3:16pm

Thank you Honda for your thoughts and ideas.

However, the cleaning task prescribed under your plan falls more heavily on LCI and their enforcement of the city’s anti-blight ordinance which to date the performance is poor. There are more than 600 vacant units throughtout the city, many managed by LCI, however LCI is not even mentioned as a partner in this venture.

The park department, who also is not mentioned here bears the responsibility for tree trimming and tree maintenance. However, in a self defeating plan, the Mayor is proposing to cut a trimmer position from the park department for 2014/15.

I would suggest the public works department take a subordinate role in this effort and concentrate on the fall clean-up of leaves, left by PWD in Oct/NOV; that still clog our streets, drains and curb lines.