Newark takes on new street sweeping duties

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A.J. Ross reports on Newark residents who want to see their streets cleaned better.

Dirt, debris, and trash are all too familiar sights along some Newark roads, where neighbors say street sweepers have long been absent.

So the city of Newark recently added street cleaning services to the Department of Public Works' duties when a 15-year contract with a private company terminated in December.

Utilizing more than a half-dozen rented trucks, updated GPS technology and laborers promoted from within, public works is making progress, but there is always room for improvement, said department director Khalif Thomas.

"We are in the preliminary stages right now, and we've made a lot of progress," Thomas said. "We are not finished. We have a whole lot to do, but for right now, I feel good about it, and the guys feel good that they're actually doing it themselves."

In fact, city street sweeping crews have only been on the job three week.

While Thomas admitted there have been some complaints, there's been a lot of praise.

He calls his team's efforts during this transition a "learning curve" that will only get better with time and genuine pride in making Newark beautiful.

"Give us some time," he said. "We are going to hash it out. We are going to get to those areas."

Longtime Dayton Street resident reminisced on how the city used to look.

"They used to keep things so beautiful it was lovely," she said. "They're doing a terrible job. Today it's pitiful and who wants to live in an ugly neighborhood? I don't."

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