Community cleanup continues this weekend

04/18/2013 7:33 PM

04/18/2013 7:34 PM

This year's spring cleanup event will continue this weekend, as will the donation collections.

During spring cleanup, residents can take unwanted refuse to various drop-off sites, but this year, the Public Works Department is also working with charities to collect clothes and bikes for the needy.

The city's annual spring cleanup started last week, but will continue from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Drop-off sites include Merced College, Merced High School, Golden Valley High School and the Merced County Fairgrounds.

Residents can drop off several junk items, including electronic equipment, up to nine tires, lumber and yard-care equipment, according to the city. Some items such as batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, hazardous materials and construction debris won't be accepted.

The service is paid for by the city's refuse rate payers and they're the only ones who get to use the service, according to the city. Proof of residence, such as a utility bill or driver's license, is required.

Unlike past years, residents can also donate unwanted bicycles and clothing at the drop-off sites.

Collection crews took in four 10-cubic-yard bins full of clothes and bikes last weekend, according to Mike Conway, assistant to the city manager.

The clothes will go to the Salvation Army, the Goodwill, Catholic Charities and St. Vincent de Paul, according to Conway. The bikes will be refurbished by trained homeless people and then will be donated to the homeless or needy families.

Martha Armas-Kelly, Merced's recycling coordinator, said the donation option is a good way for people to give back to their community.

"The circumstances have been there and the desire's been there, it's just never been incorporated," she said, adding that she found that there was a need for the items after contacting local charities.

The bikes will go to the Merced Community Action Agency, which supports a program called "Wheel Solutions," according to Conway. Any clothing donated should be gently used, washed and bagged.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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