May 21, 2013 | Vol. 73 No. 43

South Side Slopes talking trash to the neighbors about how to be a better neighbor

A presentation on the trash education initiative of the Outreach Committee of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) was the focus of the May 14 meeting.

Committee member Betty Kripp said a year-and-a-half ago, Rev. Don Ware asked the SSSNA to recreate the Outreach Committee to involve more people in the organization.

To determine the issues uppermost in Slopes’ residents’ minds, a survey was conducted, with trash/weeds emerging in second place behind parking concerns.

In the slide presentation by Mrs. Kripp and Cara Jette, city of Pittsburgh trash rules were outlined.

Trash must be set out after 6 p.m. the night before trash pick-up day. At any other times, all trash must be in cans with snug lids to prevent overflows and wildlife tampering; and, if trash bags can be seen -- it’s illegal.

To an attendee’s question of what to do if anyone witnesses these violations on their street, Mrs. Kripp said to call 311, the city’s phone number for government information and non-emergency services. Callers receive a reference number so they can call back to learn the resolution.

If a violation occurs, the Department of Public Works will send a letter and fine the violator. The process takes time, Mrs. Kripp said, but is bearing some fruit.

“We are seeing small successes,” she said.

As to what the Outreach Committee is doing about the trash problems, actions include: continuing clean-ups; targeting 311 reports; educational walk-abouts; and trying to subdivide the Slopes into zones with captains who inform the committee of trash problems.

With zones, the focus will be on trouble spots, with progress tracked in each area.

Mrs. Kripp asked interested attendees to sign a volunteer sheet to be captains.

“We are willing to dive in,” she said of starting immediately.

Residents can help with the trash initiative by: storing their trash properly; participating in clean-ups; signing up for updates on their respective zones; and earning a decal that will be handed out on trash day.

The next steps, Mrs. Jette said, are: reaching out to landlords; reaching out to schools; contacting local businesses for support; continuing communication with the Clean Pittsburgh Commission; and collaborating with the South Side Flats.

The SSSNA is a member of the Hilltop Alliance, which will soon be unveiling a plan to deal with code enforcement issues, like multiple unrelated people residing in a single-family home which frequently leads to trash violations.

Information from that meeting will be posted on the SSSNA website, www.southsideslopes.org.

The Outreach Committee is also looking into a University of Pittsburgh program in which students and residents meet each other as good neighbors.

Next, Josh Nard of the Pittsburgh office of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) briefly discussed the organization’s current program for 12 Hilltop youngsters to perform conservation service in South Side Park and Grandview Park.

The SCA is a national and environmental nonprofit organization founded in 1957. Its mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire stewardship of our communities by engaging young people in hands-on service.

The youths work Saturdays on trails, signage, clean-up, and more under the supervision of trained, experienced crew leaders. On Thursdays, they attend workshops in the SCA’s downtown office.

A day of community stewardship to brighten the Slopes was planned for South Side Volunteer Day on May 18, presented by the SCA, SSSNA, Brashear Association, and Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh.

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh’s focus is providing free home repair assistance to low-income seniors, veterans and the disabled.

The SSSNA’s annual summer picnic will be held on July 16.

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