Clovis resident takes city to task on trash

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Linda Durant spent two years picking up trash and pulling weeds at the Clovis Area Transit building on Sixth and Axtell Streets.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

After setting down dated stacks of Tupperware containers stuffed with garbage and weeds to illustrate the problem, she stood and addressed the Clovis City Commission.

“My name is Linda Durant and this is the trash I have picked up and weeds I’ve pulled off city property for the last month,” she said.

Durant, a Clovis resident and business owner, had tried to contact the city about landscaping and garbage issues at the Clovis Area Transit System building several times over the past two years.

When letters and a visit to City Hall turned up nothing, she didn’t know what to do.

But as she passed the Clovis-Carver Library last Thursday and noticed a commission meeting in progress, she realized presenting what she had collected to city leaders was the obvious next step.

Durant lives and houses her business on Sixth Street, directly behind the CATS building. When the building opened in January of 2008, the perimeter of the city block was xeriscaped.

Durant said after the building’s grand opening, the rocks were slowly overrun by weeds. Small patches of grass were left unmowed and holes were left in a garden patch by the front door where plants had been removed. And whenever the grass was edged, the dirt, rocks and grass that was loosened was left there.

“It’s just such a shame,” she said. “It’s a beautiful city building and it should be kept up.”

Durant said she’s been working to “take back” her neighborhood by working with the families and children to decrease graffiti, theft and garbage. But with trash bags of garbage picked up off city property in the neighborhood, she didn’t know how to teach the neighborhood children to clean up after themselves if the city didn’t.

“I don’t know how to get the neighborhood interested in keeping our area clean if the city doesn’t even clean up their own back yard,” she said.

Her trip to the Commission meeting turned out to be the move she needed. Parks and Recreation Director Rob Carter stopped Durant after the meeting to discuss the issues with her.

The next morning, city crews were at the CATS building cleaning the grounds.

Carter said the CATS staff is responsible for maintaining the landscaping and keeping it clean. Public Works and Parks and Recreation staff will also be helping maintain the property in the future, Carter said.

“It’s hard for the drivers to maintain the property,” Carter said. “There is no custodial staff. It’s them.”

Carter said Durant’s letters were sent to the wrong department and that