CAMDEN, N.J. (FOX 29) - Illegal trash dumping has hit Camden harder than most communities in our area and when that trash piles up other dumpers get the message that it's open season. What if you could change the narrative and turn trash into treasure?
FOX 29's Bruce Gordon reports.
A Camden Public Works crew returned to a dead-end alley off South 7th and Newton to remove the latest pile of illegally dumped garbage Thursday. Just around the corner, crews work to clear storm sewer inlets clogged by trash.
The City of Camden spends $4 million a year to combat illegal dumping and it's a losing battle.
Near one of the more notorious dumpsites, off Pershing and Whitman, Anibal Baez describes the dumping he and his three young children see.
"For the most part, abandoned furniture, bags of clothes. They clean out the houses and just dump everything right in the front--bags of clothes, random stuff, all kinds of stuff," Anibal Baez said.
"We will be choosing about eight sites along this route that are now plagued with illegal dumping," Meishka Mitchell explained.
Now, Camden and the development nonprofit Cooper's Ferry are teaming up to flip the script. They'll use a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Charities to clean-up the worst dumpsites, install artwork, murals, sculptures. They will monitor the area with police patrols and security cameras.
"This really is about creating a new view--getting people to think differently about the City of Camden," Mitchell said.
The cleanup begins this spring. Then, comes the outreach to artists with a whole new look promised for 2020.