Monday, November 07, 2005

Keeping Downtown Clean

Picture at left is Elizabeth St facing east.

For all its splendor and architectural beauty, downtown Brownsville has something working against it. Trash! It’s interesting how the city of Brownsville markets itself as a historic city with many dozens of registered historic buildings but when you actually walk the sidewalks, which by the way looks very nice with the colored brick, there is trash to be seen. Not in huge amounts but still present.

One site in particular that does have me worried is the water fountains located on the corner of Elizabeth St and International Blvd right in front of the Gateway International Bridge. The last few times that I walked that area I noticed diapers, leaves, and other trash accumulating inside these broken, waterless fountains. It was pretty much a dumping place for all kinds of trash. What kind of message is the city trying to convey? What if you went to say Chicago, Dallas, Houston, or any other city for that matter and saw trash, broken water fountains and/or benches? What would be the first thing that comes to your mind? Certainly a bad image if nothing else. A picture is worth a thousand words and is true for any city with a trashy, dirty downtown. Tourists and locals who go to downtown do not want to see diapers on the floor or trash flying about your head in gusty wind. Locals and especially tourists want to see a clean place to go shopping without the worry of stepping on something less desirable.

Fortunately, I e-mailed Mr. Camarillo (City Commissioner for District 4) about the situation with the broken water fountains and the trash dumped inside them. Mr. Camarillo returned my e-mail the next day and told me that he would call to have this situation remedied as well as fix some broken lights in the area. I’m glad to see that something action will be taken but there are other areas that need remedy.

This other area is the little plazita with benches that are located right in front of the Gateway International Bridge. People use this area to wait, rest, and play and are in bad shape and need of repair. The benches are drooping as well as the tables. There is trash and often time smells awful (last time it reeked of urine. Yuk!). Not to mention the ungodly amount of bird droppings caused by pigeons who use the trees above the benches. You’d be lucky to find a bench free of the sh!t. It’s just a depressing area and needs to be cleaned up and new benches and tables put in. But before doing that, the trees need to be trimmed and maybe adding roofs over the benches and tables to keep the bird crap off. New telephones are needed as most are not working. Is this the Historic Brownsville, Texas the city wants to portray? I hope not and certainly do hope that the city invests a little more in the downtown area. I mean, com’on, City Hall is but a few blocks from the Gateway Int’l Bridge. The city leaders must have at one point walked through this area. There is no excuse for this one. Tourists must leave with there noses closed and complain to their friends and neighbors about our city. When I visited Dallas a couple of months ago, it was clean and little if no trash flying about. The parks are clean and very beautifully kept. Why can’t Brownsville be clean like Dallas?

There is a lot of work to be done and hope that our city leaders read this and take action. And I do hope that our city leaders do not take this as a direct criticism to them but as a concern that has existed for many years. I’m tired of waiting for someone else to complain. Most times, people don’t complain about this and nothing gets done. So, if anyone of the City Commissioners and/or Mayor reads this, please take a walk around downtown and take note of the things that I mentioned. There maybe other problem areas that I may have not covered but doesn’t mean that these areas should not be looked into and remedied as well. If the City of Brownsville wants to market itself as a historic city with historic sites, don’t let the site of trash be the reason that people leave disappointed and with their noses closed. Image is everything in this world and the last thing our city needs is to have tourists picturing trash in their minds when they think of Brownsville; On the Border, By the Sea.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you should submit this to the Herald - see if they will print it

javier garcia

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you drive around Harlingen, McAllen and Brownsville, Brownsville seems to be the only major RGV city that has an unordinary amount of trash. The citizens of Brownsville need to be educated about keeping the City and themselves clean.

Otherwise, Brownsville's reputation will continue to be one of a dirty border town.


8:33 AM  
Blogger TonyL said...

Why so much trash in B'ville? Edumacation (deliberatly misspelled!), of course!! Or lack of it. The middle to upper class are usually less likely to litter than those that are in the lower income level.

How do I know? Just take a trip in north Brownsville (wealthier)and then go to Southmost and east B'ville (poorer). Not that being poor is bad, but in this area, the poor are more likely to have less education than the wealthier people. I don't want to sound like I'm disriminating against the poor but I'm just stating what I have observered. Not all poor people are litter bugs but there is a great number of poor people who immigrated from Mexico to live here and generally are more likely to litter cuz in Mexico, there is little education in throwing trash in its place. I know for a fact cuz I go to many parts of Mexico and have seen it personally on many occassions. I've also seen it from my own family in Mexico. It's just the way it is there. Here in the US, we are most self concsious about cleanliness,e.i Texas.

The upper valley is wealthier and less prone to litter than their poorer counterparts. I hate that all this sounds like I'm discriminating against the poor but it's what I've seen in my many years of traveling in Mexico and the US. There is a stark difference in the way people perceive their city.

I hope I did not offend the poorer class but like I said, It's what I've experienced and often wondered why Mexicans generally care less about littering than in the US. Interesting.

It all starts with education and teaching the younger ones (no matter their class) to clean up after themselves and keep Brownsville beautiful. Only then will our city look cleaner and produce a better image of our area. But this will take a few generations, though.


12:27 PM  
Anonymous j belleville said...

Don't give me this excuse that the poor part of town looks run-down so that means that its residents must not take care of it bit. The poor run-down part of town is nothing more than the abandoned mess left by the old upper class neighborhood that once occupied it. The rich come in live lavish make a mess and then leave when a newer model becomes available. Meanwhile property values in the old upper-class neighborhood go down and more what you call "poor" I call "working class" people move in and all of a sudden its a "poor part of town"?
Need examples?
Shopping Districts:
Downtown the old upper class shopping district now?
Boca Chica's Strawberry Plaza?

Quail Hollow

9:27 AM  

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