By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
SOUTH DAYTONA - Over the next 10 days, city workers will help residents remove junk as part of an annual spring cleaning tradition.
The city's community cleanup campaign, Sparkle Days, will begin April 8 and end April 18. During this tradition, now in its 23rd year, residents are encouraged to clear out any unwanted, non-hazardous items such as old furniture, appliances, cars, boats and trailers.
Public Works Specialist Patricia Clark, who oversees the event, said it was designed to offer assistance to citizens - particularly, seniors and handicapped residents - in keeping their properties clean by removing and disposing of large items.
"Everyone loves to 'spring clean' and this program is scheduled during spring for just that reason," Ms. Clark said. "Over the years, I have been told by many residents that they look forward to Sparkle Days so they can make their 'Honey Do' list, clean out their garages and spruce up their yards from the winter."
She said many residents call her as early as January to find out the exact dates for the event.
Sparkle Days differs from regular trash pickup by offering disposal of unwanted vehicles and special assistance for senior and handicapped residents, Ms. Clark said.
How materials are disposed of varies by the item. Waste Pro, the city's hauler, works with city crews to handle items such as junk appliances and vehicles, which are typically scrapped and recycled for metal value. Materials that cannot be recycled are disposed of at the Volusia County Landfill.
Last year, the Public Works Department collected 430 tons of items, which included yard waste, household garbage and construction debris. Based on statistics from the last 10 years, anywhere between 200 and 500 tons are collected each year.
"By providing this service to our residents, every year is a good year, no matter what amount is collected," Ms. Clark said.
Only residents can participate in Sparkle Days. Materials generated by businesses, even if it involves work done at a residence, are ineligible for pickup.
One resident who benefited from Sparkle Days in the past is Emily Mokuohai, who used the opportunity to remove jet skis that were sitting on her property for about three years.
"I hated to see them go, but they didn't work," she said. "It would have cost more to fix them than I have."
She said she was thankful for the assistance of city crews because it would have cost her $40 to dispose of each jet ski plus additional costs for towing.
"And to find someone willing to do it, I wouldn't know where to begin," she added.
When city workers arrived to take the jet skis, Ms. Mokuohai recalled they had a hard time removing them because they were located far off in her backyard and needed to be hooked up to a vehicle for transport.
But she said staff did "an excellent job" and finished in a matter of minutes.
"It was fabulous," she said. "Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful, and helped me ease the pain of losing my jet skis."
Sparkle Days runs from Friday, April 8 to Monday, April 18. For more information, call Ms. Clark at (386) 322-3088 or visit www.southdaytona.org