Fort Worth Fourth's Costly Cleanup - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Fort Worth Fourth's Costly Cleanup

Parkgoers encouraged to "pitch in"



    Busy parks also mean extra work -- and expenses -- for the city of Fort Worth.

    The city said last year's Fourth of July celebrations cost the Parks and Community Services Department more than $21,000 to clean up.

    Aubrey Connolly and her daughter often enjoy picnics at Trinity Park but know to stay clear during and after a major holiday.

    "On a regular basis, you don't see a lot of trash here," Connolly said. "It's just when there's very large crowds and people don't seem to care."

    Fort Worth Fourth's Costly Cleanup

    [DFW] Fort Worth Fourth's Costly Cleanup
    Busy parks also mean extra work -- and expenses -- for the city of Fort Worth.
    (Published Friday, July 1, 2011)

    Given its size, Trinity Park usually has the largest crowds on the Fourth of July, given its size, which leads to large trash cleanups the day after. Large and costly cleanups.

    "Based on $16 an acre, which is our average cost that a contractor might give us, it was over $21,000 [last year]," PACS Director Richard Zavala said.

    Despite the high cost, trash cleanup is something that would always going to be taken care of. But with tight city budgets, the expenses can also hurt elsewhere, too.

    "You prioritize things, so we're not going to let anything go that's unsafe," Zavala said. "But yeah, we tend to not get as many detail things done. We might not paint as much. We may not trim trees as much."

    City parks crews will pick up trash throughout the holiday weekend and will even hand out trash bags. But Zavala said the best way to avoid massive cleanups is for people to pitch in.

    "We can all do that, so we just ask folks to be responsible and take care of their own backyard," he said.

    If not, it's going to cost the citizens and taxpayers once again.

    "That's really sad, because there's a lot better things they could be spending it on," Connolly said.

    Litter isn't just a Fort Worth or a holiday problem. The group Keep America Beautiful found in a 2009 study that it costs $1.3 billion for cities to clean up litter each year.