Heard it Here

Wake Forest Students Cover Downtown Winston-Salem

Clean Team is Thriving Now More Than Ever

The Clean Team in downtown Winston-Salem has collected 93,600 pounds of liter, spent 192 hours removing graffiti, and has swept an untold number of cigarette butts. Today one of the biggest challenges facing the Clean Team is peeling stickers off flat surfaces.

Three years after the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District created the Clean Team Ambassadors, the ambassadors and team are more active than ever and a core element to the downtown community.

A crew of workers take to the downtown Winston-Salem streets seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. doing a variety of tasks such as picking up litter and maintaining the cleanliness of the city.

“They will clear snow when it’s snowing, sweep up cigarette butts, clean up after festivals. I will come in after a big festival weekend and it will be just like any other Tuesday morning with how clean it is,” said Jayne Johnston, an owner at Washington Perk and Provisions.

Washington Perk and Provisions sits on the corner of West Fourth Street and North Cherry Street. This quaint grocery and coffee shop is one example of the many small businesses in downtown that reap the benefits of the Clean Team. Businesses pay 9 cents to every $100 of property owned in downtown for this service.

According to the $1,464,400 appraised value of the property, Washington Perk and Provisions pays approximately $1,300 extra a year in taxes for this service.

“I see them around all the time, they’ll come here and pick up snacks,” Johnston said. “We call ‘em the orange crew.”

Johnston was likely referring to the crew’s bright orange t-shirts that define them to the community.

Johnston is not the only person downtown who feels strongly about the Clean Team and the good they do for the community.

“I mean the streets have never been cleaner, and they’re all super nice people,” said a worker at Mast General Store, Will Morris.

David Clodelter is the Clean Team manager. Requests for service go through Clodelter so he can then delegate them to his crew. On the Clean Team website, businesses and persons can find a hotline number which directs them right to Clodelter. He can then address the problem and assign a service.

While the team is not responding to hotline calls or requests for service, they are walking the streets peeling stickers, shoveling snow, or even watering plants.

According to the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District’s Annual Report of 2015-2016 year, the Clean Team Ambassadors were able to overcome aggressive graffiti efforts by removing them as soon as possible, and as a result, graffiti became less frequent.

Clodelter addressed this by stating, “When we first started, three years ago, there was graffiti that had been here for a long time that nobody wanted to really take care of.”

“We have problems with stickers and these pen markers, like sharpies almost. They will be all over poles or on the back of parking meters, we really made an effort to wipe that out and we’ve done it well,” said Clodelter.

Clodelter discussed the battles the Clean Team has with groups and individuals putting up stickers all over the downtown area.

“People come through all time and put stickers up. Sometimes they’re stickers that peel right off, and other times they’re stickers that we have to scrape or pressure wash off,” said Clodelter. “The most important part of what we do is the day-to-day picking up the litter— the cigarette butts are the most important.”

When it comes to the progress the group has made over the three years, “Our new normal is just that now everything is a lot cleaner,” said Clodelter.

The Clean Team, according to downtown businesses, does more than just keep up of the city’s cleanliness.

“They also just keep an eye on things, it’s really nice to have eyes everywhere, they know what’s going on and they stay in touch with the police,” said Johnston. “It’s so nice to have extra eyes and everything stays kept up!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *