7/24/2014

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Last year's Cinco De Mayo mess spurs new cleanup plan

Last year's Cinco De Mayo mess spurs new cleanup plan
YAKIMA, Wash. -- There were a lot of complaints last year about the mess left behind from the Cinco De Mayo festivities. You contacted KIMA to find out what's being done to keep it clean this time around.

When Action News took your complaints about the trash to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last year, we got a denial.

"We have received zero complaints," said Yakima Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Secretary Luz Bazan Gutierrez.

City employees stepped in to clean up things like plastic gloves and cooking grease. Chamber representatives expect it to be better this year.

"We do our best as volunteers to go out there and clean as best as we can, but there's there's always some trash that gets left behind," said Cinco De Mayo event organizer Maria Rodriguz.

KIMA learned the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce worked with the city over the last year to make sure the trash isn't a problem.

"More grease barrels, more dumpsters. These are the types of things. More capacity to handle the trash as it's a big event," said Economic Development Manager Sean Hawkins.

Cinco De Mayo organizers have agreed to hire two people to focus solely on clean up.

Last year it was up to volunteers to make sure trash got to the right place. The city says that change alone will make a big difference.

"We're expecting 15 - 20,000 people downtown," Hawkins said. "That's what we want people to remember. The good vibes, the good times."

Yakima also agreed to put street sweepers in action following the event.
Yakima Avenue business owner Travis Heitman likes the plan.

"It makes me feel good," said Heitman. "The city wants to keep up the image of Yakima, Downtown Yakima looking good no matter anytime, any event going on."

City leaders say the Cinco De Mayo festival wasn't the only one that left a mess.

Yakima now requires a $2,500 security deposit for events. It means organizers who don't clean up after their events will pay for it.

Yakima Avenue will stay closed later on Sunday so crews have more time to clean up after the festival. The street reopened by 9 p.m. last year.

It will be pushed back to 11 P-M this year.
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