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Illegal dumping problem prompts proposal to close Gary-New Duluth road

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DULUTH, MN -- Old couches, mattresses and trash litter a roadway in Duluth, concerning residents and city leaders.

Now, two city councilors have a plan to make sure it stops.

The 108th Avenue West roadway in Gary-New Duluth is a hot-spot for illegal garbage dumping, and officials say it has been for years.

Much of the roadside is public property, therefore the city is responsible for clean-up on their own dime.

"It's costly, and it's not something that we generally budget for because it's just not in the scope of what we do. We're happy to do it, because we want Duluth to be beautiful, but it sure would be easy if everybody could help us to keep Duluth clean," said Duluth's Public Information Officer, Kate Van Daele.

That's why Duluth city councilors Janet Kennedy and Derek Medved wrote a resolution to close a stretch of the road to traffic, so they can better supervise the area.

"Councilor Kennedy and I want to make sure that everyone is aware that this will be temporary, until a traffic study is completed and those conversations are had with city staff," Medved said.

Medved said long term solutions could mean better lighting or monitoring cameras on the road.

"A Jersey barrier will be set up at each end of the roadway where the closure will take place. We could see it as early as Tuesday morning, if this is passed on Monday night by Council," Medved said.

Officials said illegal dumping and litter is not confined to just one road - it's everywhere - but all Duluthians can do their part to keep the city clean.

"We have so much snow melting. When people are out for walks and see anything from pop bottles, to paper, to plastic - it's a really great time for all of us to pitch in and lend a hand to have our city be beautiful in time for Spring," Van Daele said.

City officials say if you want to report illegal dumping, you can file a complaint with Duluth Life Safety through the Fire Department.

If you need to get rid of large items, you can contact the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District or the local junk removal service, called Twin Ports Trailer Trash.

Jenna Wells

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