Albany's Operation Clean Sweep marks third year of sprucing up city

Jan. 22—ALBANY — When city staff decided to pitch in on cleaning up Albany one neighborhood at a time in 2021, the goal was to have residents participate by keeping the freshly spruced-up areas clean once the city employees had done their work.

City workers have trimmed and mowed and been joined by area companies and volunteers as Operation Clean Sweep is entering its third year.

In all, the effort has resulted in the removal of more than 100 tons of yard debris and thousands of large commercial garbage bags of litter all over the city. More than 140 alleys have been repaired, a couple of thousand storm basins have been cleaned and thousands of trees have been trimmed..

Last week, the city team hit parts of Ward IV, working from Meadowlark Drive to Hanover Street and Westgate Drive to Pheasant Drive. This week they will cover an area from Gillionville Road to Brookhollow Parkway and Lockett Station Road to Westcott Lane.

Operation Clean Sweep rotates by ward, so next week Ward V will be the focus.

"Absolutely," Ward IV City Commissioner Chad Warbington said of whether the program is engaging the public. "I've seen citizens step in or call 311. Sometimes when citizens see things (like trash) they think we're not doing anything. I think it's great. It helps."

One aspect the commissioner said he likes is that the program was not one dictated from above.

"It was the staff's idea," he said. "It was not something from the commission. I think it has paid off tremendously now that it's been going on for a couple of years.

"I've had people call me and ask when Clean Sweep is coming back, and they'll give me an idea of where to focus on."

The effort has made a big difference in some neighborhoods that were eyesores in Ward IV, Warbington said, and those neighborhoods still look better because of the program.

"I know for a fact in my ward there are areas (in which) the city put effort that were disaster areas," he said.