UI, Iowa City help clean up Melrose on gamedays


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Iowa City is teaming up with the University of Iowa to clean up after football tailgating on Melrose Avenue.

The UI's Extend the Dream Foundation — which employs persons with disabilities in part-time jobs — has partnered with Iowa City officials and a handful of other groups to provide more trash cans and workers to assist the clean up.

Doug Boothroy, the director of Iowa City Housing and Inspection Services, said the collaboration is a result of ongoing discussions regarding game-day problems and concerns.

"One issue raised among vendors and residents was the considerable amount of trash left on people's lawns," he said.

Boothroy said 7G Distributing has donated 50 trash cans to be placed every 40 feet along Melrose Avenue.

The city will store, clean, deliver. and distribute the trash cans on game day and also buy the necessary garbage bags as well as pay the nonprofit Extend the Dream Foundation, which will in turn hire part-time workers to monitor the trash cans.

Although no specific numbers will be available until after the season, Boothroy estimated roughly $2,000 in labor costs for Extend the Dream Foundation workers and $200 for the cost of garbage bags for the seven home games season.

"I would say the containers were appropriately placed, and there wasn't that much extra on the ground," Christiansen said about the effectiveness of the first operation on during Iowa's first homegame two weeks ago.

And officials are pleased with the foundation's efforts.

"Extend the Dream Foundation already had a presence for post-game clean-up so it was a natural extension for them to monitor the trash cans as well," Boothroy said.

The workers do things such as put bags in the cans, take out full bags and replace them with empty ones, and put the bags in a designated area where Johnson County Refuse will take the bags to the landfill. Boothroy said future plans include recycling as a waste alternative.

"It will naturally evolve in that direction [recycling], but it's complicated to do recycling right out the gate especially when game day trash is so mixed," Boothroy said. "Our goal right now is to just get the trash off the ground and once we get established we can get into other areas."

Liz Christiansen, the director of the UI Office of Sustainability, said the office provides Extend the Dream Foundation workers with bright yellow vests, and the Hawkeye Athletics Department pays Johnson County refuse the disposal cost of $2 per bag. Eighty-five bags were hauled to the landfill after the Sept. 3 game.

Boothroy said accurate estimates for the amount of trash could not be made on that game day because of the rain, but he expects there will be more trash this weekend.

Tom Gilsenan, upcoming director of the Extend the Dream Foundation, said helping with the trash cleanup was a great way to expand the foundation and the partnership. He said four to six workers will be available for each home game.

"We're delighted the city and the university turned to us to be a partner," he said.

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