Mayor urges groups to ‘Keep Fresno Beautiful’ through new initiative tackling trash

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand is launching a new initiative called “Keep Fresno Beautiful” that will use public-private partnerships to create programs with the goal of cleaning up the city.

The initiative will help beef up city staffing to crack down on illegal dumping while offering assistance to owners of problem properties and work with nonprofits to clean up neighborhoods.

“One of the most frequent complaints that I get from residents and visitors is the unattractive amount of trash that everyone sees on our streets and highways,” Brand said in announcing the program at the annual State of the City event hosted by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce. “It’s ugly and we all can do something about it.”

The city’s public works department already is working on a new litter abatement pilot program that will employ people such as veterans, the homeless and others in recovery programs.

The initiative also encourages cleanup programs in each council district and projects such as “Adopt-A-Block” for neighborhoods.

Brand praised the Fresno Grizzlies and the Fresno Rescue Mission for their team effort to clean up G Street — a magnet for illegal dumping and litter. He also praised the Facebook group West Shaw Neighborhood Association, which organizes cleanups along Shaw Avenue.

“The more people commit to cleaning up, the better life will be for everyone in Fresno,” Brand said.

During the lunchtime event at the Fresno Convention Center, Brand also presented a key to the city to Debra Rush, cofounder and CEO of Breaking the Chains — a nonprofit to help victims of human trafficking.

Brand also presented the Community Partner Award to pastors Paul Binion, D.J. Criner and B.T. Lewis, calling them the “three wise men” who bring peace to the city in times of controversy.

The mayor recapped his work over the last year, including focusing on public engagement for the police chief search; breaking ground on a police substation in southeast Fresno; launching Fresno’s 311 non emergency phone line; registering 85,000 units on the city’s rental housing registry; and facilitating a new Motel Owners Association for Parkway Drive.

“This is how we continue our growth — our momentum — by committing ourselves to the quiet daily work of improving how we serve citizens day in and day out,” Brand said.

“This is how we keep the ‘pedal to the metal,’ not by shouting and tweeting but by sitting down with each other, by listening, and by compromising and collaborating.”

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.