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Peduto Unveils New Volunteer Cleanup Crew

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Thursday unveiled the city’s new volunteer litter cleanup program “Beautify Our ‘Burgh.”

According to Peduto, the program is completely volunteer run and allows residents and local government to work together to clean up the streets.

“It’s about doing the small things neighborhood-by-neighborhood, block-by-block, street-by-street and then working from that as a building block to make this city beautiful,” he said.

More than 2,000 people, who have collected a combined 15 tons of litter, have already volunteered to be part of the program.

Peduto said the volunteers organize themselves and notify the public works department where they’ll be working. This allows public works crews to work closely with the city’s residents.

Peduto said working this way allows the city to have boots on the ground in almost every part of the city.

“When a neighborhood decides that they’re going to clean up a business district or work with different organizations to remove trash along a hillside, the city’s public works crews are there working hand-in-hand with them,” he said.

This campaign is similar to the city’s Redd Up crew, which was created by the late Mayor Bob O’Connor to be a provisional team responsible for cleaning up blighted areas, overgrown lots and illegal dump sites. That crew was disbanded in March of this year.

Peduto said the crew needed to be larger. And in creating the “Beautify Our ‘Burgh” campaign, he wanted to bring on another 2,400 people. The only way he could do that, he said, was through volunteers.

“It really comes down to what the community wants to see enhanced and how we can provide that,” Peduto said.

Peduto also said he wants to see the volunteers do more than pick up trash.

“It’s not just about redding-up,” he said. “It’s about beautifying it.”

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."
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