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Programs expand incentivizing organizations to keep Baltimore's vacant lots clean

Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 17:42:54-05

BALTIMORE — "The garbage brings rats. The garbage contributes to the crime. It makes for an unhealthy environment and there's no excuse for it," said Baltimore resident Spenser Weidman.

It's a long-standing problem in Baltimore: the trash. Now, a program combining both city and community efforts to keep Baltimore clean is expanding.

Mayor Jack Young announced that new funding from the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, BMORE Beautiful can expand its Care-A-Lot Program, where community organizations can apply for grant funding to maintain vacant lots.

"These lots are maintained by community organizations, many of which work with city youth," said Young.

The funding allows them to expand from 150 lots in 2018 to 700 lots in 2020. Organizations can apply to maintain up to 25 lots and are eligible to receive up to $6,000 in funding for a maximum of 10 visits per lot. Applications for these grants are due March 20th.

And for organizations accepted into the program, there's another opportunity called Activate This Space.

The organizations in Care-A-Lot can apply to get up to $5,000 to design and implement safeguarding projects on those vacant lots.

"These projects will protect and enhance the overall quality of vacant lots in Baltimore neighborhoods," said Rebecca Woods, executive director of the Environmental Control Board. "This partnership highlights the important connection between vacant lot maintenance, community stewardship and public safety."

City officials hope both of these opportunities make a difference in keeping Baltimore clean and the communities thriving.

"Both of these opportunities provide community organizations with the resources necessary to maintain and transform problematic vacant lots and to make those lots community assets," said Woods.

The following eight data-informed cleaning initiatives encompass Mayor Young's Clean It Up! Campaign:

Eliminate The Cleaning Backlog - Eliminating the backlog of key 311 cleaning service requests including street, alley and vacant lot cleaning - by April 1st to deliver on-time, equitable service to residents in 2020 and beyond.
Hold Repeat Violators Accountable - Mayor Young is doubling down on enforcement measures to respond to the small number of people and businesses responsible for repeat sanitation violations such as illegal dumping.
Mayor Young’s Pothole Challenge - Mayor Young will be launching a 50 day pothole-filling challenge on February 12th.
Small Haulers Pilot - Mayor Young is piloting an expansion of the small haulers program to reduce barriers, and encourage more participation in this already successful program.
Care-A-Lot Expansion - Mayor Young is committing additional support to expand the Care-A-Lot program - which empowers communities to beautify their own neighborhoods.
Clean & Safe Communities - Mayor Young has directed CitiStat to review data and identify neighborhoods for focused cleaning and safety efforts.
Gateways Initiative - Cleaning efforts on 19 roads with the most traffic and the biggest cleanliness challenges.
Communities Pitch-In - Communities can now partner with the city to do community cleanups by submitting a service request.
Join Mayor Young in this collective of data-driven actions to make Baltimore a cleaner and safer city.

The city also launched CleanStat last summer, where you can follow the progress of the campaign. It shows the current backlog and percentage of service requests completed.