Landlord says alley trash bin a stinky situation
BY STEPHANIE LULAY email@example.com September 26, 2013 6:36PM
Aurora aims to add a new railing to prevent careless trash dumping in an alley adjacent to Stolp Avenue after a downtown landlord complained at City Hall this week. | Stephanie Lulay~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:41AM
AURORA — There was never a trash issue in the area until a container appeared years ago, Dorothy Bentel told the City Council this week.
The landlord, who operates a property at 37 S. Stolp Ave. in the Aurora’s downtown, was concerned that a longstanding problem with piled-up trash in an alley trash bin adjacent to her building would never be fixed.
Bentel, who operates two apartment units and a retail space rented by the popular Big Boss Barbershop, said that the last straw that prompted her to address city officials was a call from her tenants.
“My tenants could not physically get their garbage cans out because it was so full of crap,” the Naperville resident said.
The City of Aurora owns the alley, which is closed off through a key-entry gate. For a year, the gate’s lock was broken. But even once that issue was rectified, the trash kept piling up, she said.
Bentel would walk past the building, wondering what patrons who park at the Stolp Island parking deck might think. People who threw trash carelessly over the alley gate would miss the dumpster, causing bottles to break and food to fly out of trash bags, she said.
“Boy, if I was somebody who didn’t know and I saw that alleyway, I would be totally disgusted,” Bentel said. “The smell and flies everywhere. It’s just a mess.”
City Director of Communications Clayton Muhammad said that the garbage bin services the Graham Building at 7 S. Stolp Ave., and other trash bins in the alley service other area buildings.
The city was first made aware of a trash issue on Sept. 6, through a call to the city’s Customer Service department.
Muhammad said that the alley was regularly maintained, but the service call prompted officials to take a deeper look at the problem.
“Without complaints on issues, there’s really no red flag,” he said.
For now, the city has made a “strong recommendation” to the Graham Building’s management group, Kinzie Realty Corp., to extend garbage pick up to two days per week instead of the single day each week the trash bin is now emptied.
Bentel said the bin’s lid was often wedged between the brick wall and the container’s side, making it impossible for users to close. The open garbage bin attracted rats and flies, she said.
City staff has discussed the lid issue with Waste Management, the trash hauler that serves the site.
Additionally, the city will install a panel over the gate to further discourage people from carelessly tossing trash over the fence and into the alley, according to Muhammad.
When a landlord reports a quality of life issue, the city takes it seriously, he said.
“Beyond the trash, we’ve noticed windows (in the alley) that should be boarded and things of that sort,” Muhammad said. “We’ll now focus on routine inspections and look to see a dramatic improvement in the area.”
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner apologized for the issue Tuesday night.
“All of the efforts to beautify the downtown go for naught when that type of thing occurs,” he said.
Bentel said Thursday that she is very happy with the city’s swift action. “I just wish I would have gone to a (city) meeting three years ago,” she said. “I believe that the city is going to take care of it, and I could not be more thrilled.”