Springfield City councilor Jesse Lederman proposes ‘Green Corps’ to remove litter (MassLive)
SPRINGFIELD — Seeking to address the crumpled wrappers, empty bottles and fast-food cups peppered across the city, Jesse Lederman, City Council president, said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s administration should establish a “Springfield Green Corps” that would recruit youths to tackle litter in neighborhoods and parks.
Lederman said the proposed program would give youths summer jobs and offer them field trips to learn about local career opportunities. In turn, the youths would remove trash from “high litter areas” while taking part in anti-litter campaigns.
“This is a hands-on opportunity for youth to get involved in making a difference in their own city while also addressing a community need that is critical to the future success of Springfield,” Lederman wrote in a statement. “Let’s make 2023 the year that we clean up our streets, literally.”
Although Lederman is proposing the city try a pilot of the Green Corps during the summer, he said the program could be extended to operate for three seasons of the year.
Lederman said possible funding sources for the program could come from the proceeds from the Eversource property tax settlement, American Rescue Plan Act funds or state workforce development resources.
The idea for the corps came from Worcester, which created the Worcester Green Corps in 2021. The public-private partnership that included participants such as MassHire and Worchester Regional Chamber of Commerce paid 25 youths minimum wage to hunt for litter in that city. Lederman said the Worcester Green Corps collected 3,000 pounds of trash.
The City Council president said he believes keeping the neighborhood, parks and civic spaces clean in Springfield is an essential community responsibility and a better job needs to be done.
“The creation of the Springfield Green Corp would provide a unique opportunity to address a city-wide challenge while also providing a financial and educational benefit to youth in our community,” Lederman said in a statement.