ST. LOUIS – A FOX 2 exclusive report on the thick brush from abandoned St. Louis properties overtaking city alleys, blocking garbage trucks, and adding to the city’s trash crisis brought an immediate response Thursday morning.
Cameras obtained from FOX 2 captured garbage truck drivers pushing through alleyways that looked more like forests, trying to get to residents’ dumpsters. The dumpsters were hidden by thick brush, with filth piling up on the ground around them.
By noon Thursday, the brush was gone, the dumpsters were exposed, and the alleys were passable again behind the 4400 block of Anderson. About two dozen city forestry workers, armed with a variety of chainsaws, completely changed the landscape.
“When I heard them out here this morning, I was like, ‘Oh my God,'” said Allison Miller, a resident.
“It feels like you can breathe a little better when it’s clear. It is a very relaxing feeling,” said Alderwoman Laura Keys of the city’s new 11th Ward.
She made calls to get something done after FOX 2 alerted her to the issue.
“I think that people have really gotten accustomed to it just being that way,” Keys said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. This is a quality of life issue.”
According to city records, residents had never called to report the overgrowth, she said.
Keys was walking the neighborhood on Thursday, sharing her cell phone number with residents. She urged people to report issues directly to her or to St. Louis’s Citizens Service Bureau by calling 314-622-4800, online, or via Twitter @stlcsb.
She said she hopes the response will boost city pride and attract workers to the understaffed forestry and refuse departments, which now offer better pay and benefits.
“We need people who are ready to work. Let’s be about the work,” Keys said.
There is still work to do. Another alley behind Penrose a couple of blocks away has the same issues.