In an attempt to clean up the image of Prince George's County, literally, County Executive Parris Glendening announced yesterday that the county is launching a $1.5 million coordinated cleanup effort.
"The county, quite frankly, has not done the best it could in these areas," Glendening said.
For instance, he said, county streets have not been swept since 1974 "and it shows.
"We get a great number of complaints about the condition of roads. It's something that affects people every day."
In addition to a new street-sweeping program, which was launched two weeks ago, the effort will include increased storm-drainage maintenance, expanded storage for abandoned vehicles, improved surveillance of illegal dump sites and increased litter pickup.
The $1.5 million project represents a 60 percent increase in the $2.5 million the county spends annually on cleanup efforts.
Glendening said money for each of the programs was allocated in the budget approved by the county council for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
A 20-page report, prepared by the county environmental resources department at Glendening's request and released yesterday, said that "many areas of the county remain unsightly even where regular cleanup programs are conducted." The report urged the county to coordinate its cleanup efforts.
Glendening acknowledged that there have been litter and other pollution problems in the past, but said that with its improved fiscal picture, the county can afford to increase its services.
Under the street sweeping program, to cost $450,000, crews from a College Park firm began sweeping in Adelphi two weeks ago and will clean up most major arteries in the county within 90 days. The roads will then be cleaned once every two weeks, he said.
Another $720,000 has been allocated for increased storm-drainage maintenance in cooperation with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, he said.
Crews from the WSSC will work exclusively on cleaning storm-drainage systems, he said.
The abandoned vehicles program, run by the county police department, is virtually self-supported by income from the sale of the cars, Glendening said, and expanding it will not cost additional money.
Increased surveillance of sites where illegal dumping is known to be common will cost about $11,000, and Glendening said he also will propose locating dumping sites more conveniently.
The county will also spend about $250,000 to clean up vacant lots and areas near county roads, he said.