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Cleaner Columbus offers pay for those who help pick up trash

The program aims to hire those who are unemployed or underemployed. The pay comes from a $2.5 million grant.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new mascot is helping students get involved in Cleaner Columbus this summer. Also, some adults can get paid $15 an hour for working with the initiative.

Scarlet the Cardinal was designed by a Columbus City School student in 2019 to encourage students to get involved in neighborhood cleanup. The mascot helps coordinate student involvement, design challenges and community service for school credit.

The Cleaner Columbus initiative was launched in November 2020 by Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel Remy.

“If you’ve got a neighborhood that’s dirty, then you’re going to see an uptick in crime and so by helping to clean it up and helping the residents to take pride in their neighborhoods, we find that crime does actually decrease,” Remy said.

Several areas throughout Columbus have seen cleanup crews come through neighborhoods. Columbus resident Chris Parker said the pay offered by the program helped him during the pandemic.

“A lot of what I was going work-wise was affected by COVID which is actually what got me into doing side jobs and clean up and so I just kind of fell into it,” Parker said.

Parker and others throughout the city are getting paid $15 an hour to help with Cleaner Columbus cleanup. The program aims to hire those who are unemployed or underemployed. The pay comes from a $2.5 million grant.

Three cleaning programs are being offered through 2021, including a spring, summer and fall cleanup. Different groups and organizations are also able to help to raise money for various programs and teams.