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Hartford Council Approves Median-Cleanup Program

By JENNA CARLESSO

September 16, 2010

HARTFORD Having just completed a citywide effort to clean up the parks, the city council has approved a new program that would seek volunteers who would select a street median to keep clean and manicured.

Council members say the new adopt-a-median program will help beautify patches of the city that the department of public works can't always get to.

"There are a lot of people in this city who want to help," said Councilman Luis Cotto, who presented the idea for the program last month. "I think having them involved will go a long way."

The program will be run through the Department of Public Works. Those who wish to participate would choose a median and then be responsible for grooming it with their own equipment. Volunteers could sign up individually or as a group.

The council approved the program Monday. Before their vote, council members decided to remove one proposed component.

Under the original proposal, the public works department could charge volunteers up to $50 for a sign bearing the name or names of those responsible for the cleaning, including corporations that choose to adopt a median.

Councilman Matthew Ritter said those signs could stir controversy, such as if an adult entertainment store agreed to clean multiple medians, leaving signs that advertise its business all over the city.

"We don't want to create a program that creates a bunch of incidents," he said.

Ritter said the council will ask the public works department to meet with a city attorney to discuss what would be practical.

The program will probably be started sometime in November, Cotto said.

Some people are already on board.

Marilyn Rossetti, executive director of HART, said she is eager to start work on an overgrown median at Stone Street and New Britain Avenue.

"I would sit at the light there and look at the median and go, 'Gosh, that makes me crazy,' " she said.

Keeping the medians manicured might not be the city's top priority, Rossetti said, "but it's still part of the whole picture."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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