Landscape warriors keep Huntsville clean and beautiful

single-meta-cal May 15, 2020

Keeping Huntsville beautiful is a job for everyone. Homeowners take pride in their yards and neighborhoods, bolstered by support from the City’s Green Team – a community-focused initiative to control litter, reduce waste and support beautification efforts.

It’s a team effort all around. Green Team operates within the City’s Landscape Management Department, which does the heavy lifting to keep public areas of Huntsville clean and attractive. Landscape’s job includes maintaining public parks and sanctuaries, greenways and ponds, and caring for the seasonal flower beds and hanging floral baskets in the downtown core. There are miles and miles of public right-of-way to mow and weed and deep ditches to clear when obstructions occur.

“It’s definitely a job for people who love to be outdoors,” said Brian Walker, Manager of Landscape Management. “It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you tackle an area and see immediate improvement.”

Landscape workers have ventured into thickets of thorny bushes and waded deep into poison ivy. They’ve cleaned up homeless camps and illegal dumping grounds, and tenderly planted pansies in front of the Madison County Courthouse.

One of the more difficult jobs is picking up trash along the Parkway and Interstate. It’s a dangerous task with cars whizzing by at high speeds so for safety reasons, workers perform their clean-up duties overnight.

Several dozen workers recently took advantage of the lighter traffic flow during the Stay at Home Health Order and worked all night until 5 a.m. picking up trash along North and South Parkway.

maintenance crews with their cleanup tools on South Parkway

Landscape crews help the state maintain its major highways in the City of Huntsville. This often entails working overnight hours to avoid dangerous traffic.

“We collected tons of debris and garbage from along the highway,” said Brian Walker, “With all our efforts to prevent littering, it amazes me how much trash there is on our roadways.”

One of the biggest culprits of road litter is pick-up trucks and dump trucks carrying unsecured debris. The trash has become so problematic that the City hired a part-time retired police office to cruise the major corridors looking for offenders. City Council also approved an ordinance setting fines for littering.

“Flying debris is dangerous,” said Joy McKee, Director of Landscape Management. “It’s not just unsightly on the road, it can be a deadly factor in traffic accidents. Littering hurts everyone.”