by Lisa Tome
With less than two square miles in its downtown, you'd think that it would be easy to keep Port Deposit clean and litter free.
But outside forces are sometimes working against the efforts of the residents.
"It is a problem. You might not see it. Ninety percent of the people here take pride in the town. If they see something that doesn't look right, they'll take care of it," said Port Deposit town administrator Rod Heinze.
Public works crewmen Steven Clark and Floyd Taylor are responsible for emptying the trash in town. There are numerous town-maintained trash receptacles lining Main Street. The two men have seen why the town cans fill up fast.
"People from out of town bring their household garbage and put it in the town cans," said Taylor.
The town also has numerous cans in Marina Park and along the promenade. The town crewmen find that there is more in there than just scraps from a picnic lunch. They have found motor oil and oil filters, and household trash there as well.
The town rents a six-yard dumpster which is in Marina Park. That is for the town's use for emptying the cans. It costs $231 per month for weekly service. The crew often finds that the lid has been pried open and trash has been placed there. Heinze said landfill fees aren't why people dump trash in the town. "If people are going to dump, they are going to dump," he said.
It's not just the little things. People also dump big things - such as couches, along the town streets. "We have limited resources and people dump a couch on the sidewalk," said Heinze. "We try to stay on top of things like that because we want the town to keep looking nice."
Early in the spring, Riversweep volunteers clean along Port's river shore. This year, they found four discarded mattresses during that clean up effort. Those had to be hauled away.
The town's mayor said he takes care of some of the problem himself.
Mayor Wayne Tome said there is rarely a day that goes by when he isn't picking up trash in the town. "I try to set an example and take pride in the community," said Tome.
He also said he hopes a good appearance is a spark for development in Port Deposit. The town is working to entice developers to jump start new construction in the town.
Over the weekend, The War of 1812 Mural which is part of the Star Spangled 200 celebration, was dedicated. Mayor Tome said that special efforts were made to get the town ready for the guests that were expected for the event.