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Cleveland seasonal leaf pick-up program returns but some residents feel left out

City leaders say just 20% of the city is covered
Posted at 11:17 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-18 16:22:01-05

Cleveland's seasonal leaf pick-up program is back up and running, after being off-line for several years due to budget cuts, but not all residents are pleased.

The rekindling of the program is being funded by additional dollars generated by the recent Cleveland income tax increase.

But Cleveland residents like Steve Greenwald, who's is not covered under the leaf pick-up program, pointed the city coverage map, and said he believes only about 20 percent of all residents will be serviced under the plan.

Greenwald believes since the leaf program is being funded by issue 32 funds, all residents should be given leaf collection.

"We're getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop again," said Greenwald. "We're not getting it, I've been waiting 25 years for this. That's what I've been telling people in the neighborhood.  I said either everybody or nobody, and they all agreed with me."

News 5 took this case to Cleveland Public Works Director Mike Cox, and we asked him how the city decided which residents would get leaf pick-up and who wouldn't.

Cox said the decision for service was based on information from the city department of urban forestry, which was able to determine the neighborhoods with the heaviest concentration of city managed trees.

"It was based on the number of street trees that they have in each area," said Cox. "Some areas have 10,000 street trees on them, some areas have 2,000."

Cox said the program has never serviced all homes in the past, and that residents not in the pick-up area can pack their own bags, and leave up 20 bags curbside for pick-up per week.

Still, some city leaders like Michael Polensek voted against re-booting the leaf pick-up program.

Polensek said if there weren't enough funds to include every home, the money should have been put into additional street sweeping.

Polensek pointed to recent city flooding on Nov. 5 and Oct. 6, he said was caused by clogged storm sewers basins.

Polensek said street flooding is a growing issue that could be reduced with increased street sweeping.

"Street sweeping should be our number one priority," said Polensek. "Because I saw it first hand on November 5. You could have used a boat to go down my street because the catch basins were all clogged."

More information on Cleveland's renewed leaf pick-up program can be found here on the city website.