Alleys are used frequently by trash collectors and first responders, but they can also be used by criminals looking for a place to hide. The city of Columbus is working to improve alleys, roughly 260 of them.
Much like the road treatment program, each year the city uses capital improvement money to fix deteriorating alleys, but the city can’t get to them all, and that's where residents come in.
South Ogden Avenue block watch leader, Lisa Boggs, spends countless hours cleaning up her Hilltop neighborhood; her focus Friday was getting rid of all the trash in the alleys.
Boggs said, “I believe if you take care of where you live it keeps the criminal element out.”
She and some of her neighbors said the alleys are a haven for crime and drugs.
Debra Bradley said, “I'm constantly picking up the wires they use for heroin, or whatever, crack, whatever they smoke through it.”
Columbus is investing $1.5 million to cut brush and resurface about 35 miles of alleyway in the city.
“Every three years we look at every alley in the city of Columbus and then we pick the alleys in the most need of repair,” said Rick Tilton, Asst. Dir. Dept. of Public Service.
This year, alleys in the Fifth by Northwest, Eastmoor, German Village, Clintonville, Franklinton and Hilltop neighborhoods will be repaired, also, a few on the Northeast side and the OSU area.
The alleys in Bogg’s neighborhood aren’t on the list, but she has taken to Facebook to encourage neighbors to do their part. She wrote, “Our alleys aren't the target for improvement, but several of us residents with help from the Columbus refuse department are doing our best to tackle them one by one.
Road crews with the city’s public service department started the project this week and are expected to continue through October.