Rocky Rooster isn’t out to ruffle anyone’s feathers. He just wants to crow about strutting through clean neighborhoods in Zephyrhills.
On July 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Rocky Rooster will be the mascot and booster of neighborhood pride at the first city-sponsored neighborhood cleanup day.
“We’re really trying to get the word out,” said Gail Hamilton, director of the city’s Community Redevelopment Area.
The focus area for the cleanup is between Seventh Street and 11th Street, and 11th Street and Sixth Avenue, near downtown.
Fliers are being mailed to property owners. Code enforcement officers are personally delivering fliers to residents living within the cleanup’s focus area.
The campaign slogan is “Make our city something to crow about.”
The program emerged after City Manager Steve Spina asked city department heads to discuss how to improve code enforcement.
Organizers want to convey the message that the city and residents can work together to clean up the neighborhoods.
“We just thought some people are overwhelmed and don’t have vehicles to haul junk to the landfill,” said Hamilton. “It’s like a carrot instead of a stick. We’re really trying to rid the focus area of detrimental items that have accumulated over the year.”
Still, there could be consequences for residents who opt out of the cleanup.
“If they don’t use our services, code enforcement will come behind and start issuing citations,” Hamilton said.
On cleanup day, dumpsters will be placed at Eighth Street and Eighth Avenue. City crews will clean up rights-of-way and alleys. Residents will be asked to haul trash and junk to the curb for pickup. Volunteers from the city will pitch in when needed.
Hamilton noted that the area has some elderly residents who may not be physically able to do the clean up work.
No hazardous waste, such as paint and chemicals, will be accepted.
City officials hope residents will join the cleanup and have fun at the same time.
They’ve taken a light-hearted approach with Rocky Rooster — a nod to the chickens and roosters seen frequently roaming the neighborhood.
“You like the chickens, or you hate them,” Hamilton said. “We decided to take a negative and make it fun.”
Residents who participate in the cleanup can enjoy a community block party afterward, with hot dogs and drinks. They also can chat with the city’s department heads, including Hamilton and Spina.
Because this is the first time the city has done this, officials don’t know how many residents will participate or how much the program will cost the city.
Once that is determined, plans are to develop a budget and schedule a second cleanup in another neighborhood.
Eventually the city hopes to cover all neighborhoods within the 500 acres of the redevelopment area.
“We’ll keep working at it until we get it done,” Hamilton said.
Published July 15, 2015