Port Shorts: Property Maintenance

Once it leaves their homes in the back of a garbage truck, most Cincinnatians don’t think about what happens to their trash. Typically, garbage is properly disposed of in designated landfills, but some people throw away trash in a nefarious way, and it’s called illegal dumping.

Illegal dumping is a prevalent problem across the country.

And the Cincinnati region is no exception.

When the Hamilton County Landbank acquires vacant and blighted properties, they typically have been abandoned for many years. Vacant lots like this one located on Beekman Avenue are hotspots for criminal activity, including illegal dumping.

“The issue of the dumpings here in Cincinnati is a big one. Unfortunately, this is only one of a thousand sites like this in the city and county that needs cleaned up, which entails a lot of money and a lot of man hours.” - Ron Shouse, Facilities Manager, The Port

Heaps of illegal trash also pose environmental threats to surrounding residents and are particularly hazardous for curious children. When it comes to mattresses, couches, tires, or even hypodermic needles, these sites are hotspots for filth that is more than just dirty; it’s dangerous.

“The Port has been a great partner for the Cincinnati police department. Without that, these sites would experience more and more dumping. They help us secure them, put up fending, put up signage, and without that these sites would fall into decay.” - Sergeant Jacob Hicks, Cincinnati Police Department

These sites create a large strain on municipal resources. In 2019 alone, the City of Cincinnati spent more than two point four million in taxpayer dollars to clean up these dangerous eye sores.

“When we have private property, and we see that it is constantly neglected, our goal isn’t to keep cleaning the property - cutting the grass, cleaning up the illegal dumping. We want to get them to the right property owners who are going to take care of it.” - Tracey Grome, Program Manager, City of Cincinnati

The Port’s Landbank team works with the City of Cincinnati and community partners to keep an eye on the properties it owns to ensure they are kept clean and secure. Ultimately, the Landbank and Port seek to find new responsible owners for these properties. But until that is possible, the Port acts as a partner for the community and a good steward of the land.

The Landbank dedicates nearly 20% of its resources to clean up, secure, and maintain Port-owned properties every year. The site on Beekman Street alone required thirty thousand dollars in Port and City funds combined, and yet, preventing additional dumping is an ongoing challenge.

"We have had a wonderful relationship working with The Port. They have been able to minimize the amount of monies being spent just constantly cleaning up properties. I think that with our new communication, and through the partnerships that have been formed, that we are going to see a reduction in illegal dumping.” - Tracey Grome, Program Manager, City of Cincinnati

The former illegal dump site on Beekman is now clean - and has been for several weeks now. This means residents can sleep more easily knowing The Port and the City aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

If you see something, say something. To report illegal dumping in your neighborhood, please visit www.hcdoes.org.