Time has come to clean up Middlesex
by Larry Chowning
The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors is encouraging the entire county to start spring cleaning. To help in this effort, county officials will notify landowners, who are not looking after their property, of the county’s concerns.
At the supervisors’ April 2 board meeting, county administrator Matt Walker said Middlesex has started a “spring cleaning” initiative with Middlesex Sheriff David Bushey, Virginia Department of Transportation officials, and the county planning staff.
The county staff has applied for litter control and recycling grants to aid in the cleanup of the county roadsides, which have become “littered and unsightly,” said Walker.
“We intend to utilize these grant funds in two ways,” he said. “First and foremost, we plan to organize work teams from the regional jail through Sheriff Bushey to clean up several of our main travel ways this spring.
“Secondly, to satisfy a public education component of the grants, we would like to purchase several anti-litter campaign signs to be strategically placed around the community,” continued Walker.
“We also contacted the Southside Sentinel about running several special interest stories related to clean-up efforts, building upon recent stories on such efforts as Bill Shuman’s Town Bridge Road cleanup success.”
Shuman and other local Kiwanis Club members along with many other volunteers recently removed trash along Town Bridge Road that connects Saluda and Urbanna. “Citizens such as these, who take pride in their community, are a blessing,” said Walker.
Walker also said the county is encouraging Sheriff Bushey to “vigorously” enforce the county’s recently-updated litter code. “With the updating of the littering ordinance, it is now enforceable and allows our commonwealth’s attorney to prosecute offenders,” he said.
Walker noted that one litter offender in March was found guilty in Middlesex County Circuit Court.
Also, the county building official’s department will begin working with property owners for the removal and remediation of unsafe structures. Walker said that the county staff has collected pictures of various properties to demonstrate the levels of disrepair found at some of the structures.
“These structures are primarily located on the main corridors of the county (Routes 227, 17, and 33) and are visible from the roadway, said Walker.
Under the county building code, structures that are open and not securable, either at a door or window, can be determined unsafe. “Our building officials will work with the affected property owners to remedy the circumstances as each situation dictates,” he said.