City to launch anti-litter push in Codman, Mattapan

Several Dorchester and Mattapan locales could pick themselves up in a new pilot program slated to start this spring. An anti-litter campaign is in the works that would encourage storeowners to keep it clean, train young children to give a hoot and blitz the area with advertising.

"Much of it is going to be education," said Richard Heath, an organizer for the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC) who helped city officials design the program.

"The sidewalks are filthy, why not make your business and this district look nice? But a lot of it is going to be hoping on a partnership between businesses and the city," said Heath.

Part of the program would establish youth advocates in local schools to help infuse an anti-littering attitude into the new generation. The BOLD Teens in Codman Square is one of the youth groups involved, having participated in designing the overall anti-litter campaign along with city's --SMART (Boston Strategic Multi-Agency Response Team) and other community groups.

The Codman Square NDC will also be participating, asking business owners to keep the sidewalks near their stores cleaner, sweeping more than twice a day including gutters. The city would assist the effort with a "hokey man" that would come through and sweep up the area a couple times a week.

Anti-litter advertising would also be extensive, said Smith, including street signs, bus billboards, and brochures distributed through local events.

The program would pilot in Codman Square, Four Corners, the St. Marks area, Fields Corner, Morton Street and Mattapan Square and expand to other areas if it is successful. Main Streets programs in many of the areas are taking the lead in the effort.

"We haven't rolled out an official [start] date yet, but the goal would probably be April 2008," said Darryl Smith, assistant to the commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department. "This would time in with Boston Shines in April. The mayor would like to see Boston shine 365 days a year."

In warm weather last week, piles of trash appeared on Dorchester sidewalks as the snow banks covering them melted away. The city's street cleaning services traditionally start up again in April.