Operation Cleanup, the program designed to spruce up Decatur for its 175th birthday celebration in August, is building momentum as June and hot weather arrive.
City Board of Works and Safety member Bill Karbach, who is heading up the effort, told city council Tuesday night that Phase I is "pretty much wrapped up" and now it's on to Phase II. That one will target what is termed "yard rubbish," and includes all manner of objects situated in yards — including dilapidated bikes, sleds and the like, plus auto parts, tires, scrap metal, etc. And, of course, trees in poor condition which may pose a hazard and buildings in poor condition.
Karbach said 30 warnings on such "rubbish" already have given out "and we've been getting a lot of good cooperation."
Phase I targeted various types of mostly unlicensed vehicles
As of June 3, Karbach said, the city had placed tags on 76 vehicles, 23 trailers, 14 campers and 11 boats. In addition, 4 vehicles, 1 camper, 2 trailers and 1 boat with trailer have been towed away.
As he has in the past, Karbach said, "We really want to work with people on these things, and there has been a lot of cooperation."
He added, however, that some of the "tagged" vehicles are still in place 30 or more days later, "and so we may have to get a little tougher" in those cases.
Karbach is assisted in the daily effort by two veteran city police officers, Sgt. Lennie Corral and Jim Franze.
Concerning another, huge cleanup effort, council adopted a resolution that "shows interest" in purchasing the former sweeper shop/Holthouse Drug Co. building at Monroe and Second streets.
Owner Don Spice, who purchased the building from Dwayne Skaggs some months ago, recently approached Mayor John Schultz and asked if the city would be interested in buying the building. The mayor, of course, jumped at the opportunity to rid the city of one of its worst eyesores.
The first step toward a possible purchase was the unanimous adoption of the resolution showing interest. Next, a purchasing agent will be named. That person will get two appraisals; the average worth of the two will set a figure which the city may not go above in making the buy.
During the process, the agent will be able to negotiate a price with Spice and, eventually, council would have to approve funding the purchase. Once a purchase is accomplished, it's a good bet the building will be demolished.