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Rick Kriseman thanks residents for 54 percent recycling participation rate on day one

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In his weekly Sunblast that hit email subscribers’ inboxes Thursday, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is thanking residents for what he hopes was a successful beginning to the long-awaited program.

“We’re very excited about the numbers we’re hearing,” Kriseman said in a video announcement. “It really looks like this community is stepping it up and getting involved in this program.”

According to the city, the participation rate on the first day of recycling pickup this Monday was 54 percent. That’s a figure the city calls “huge.”

But in his video Kriseman also thanks those who have been less than thrilled with the logistics surrounding the program for being patient.

“We know it’s been a little bit rough and we’re going to fix things as we go along,” he continued.

Kriseman’s message is likely directed at those residents who live in one of the city’s traditional neighborhoods, which comprise 40 percent of homes. Most residents in those neighborhoods utilize alleys for trash pickup. However, recycling bins must be picked up curbside.

Leaders in both the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood and Historic Kenwood have continued to push back against the city to accommodate alley recycling pickup for those traditional neighborhoods with alley access.

However, the city has continuously explained that the seven trucks purchased to pick up recycling are too large to traverse narrow alleys.

The animosity hasn’t quieted even though the program has officially launched. Bill Heyen, an active community leader in Historic Kenwood, commented on Kriseman’s video update with the same complaint he’s been issuing for weeks.

“If the new trucks that were bought are too big, then that was a mistake. We should not be punished,” Heyen wrote. “Many of us do not have an easy egress to the front as we don’t have driveways in our front yards.”

Regardless, Kriseman is hoping the program will be a success. To aid in that, Kriseman directed residents to the city’s recycling website to find answers to commonly asked questions.

“For those of you who have questions about the program we’ve got lots of information out there for you,” Kriseman said.

He also gave a brief overview of a mobile app smart phone users can download for free to help keep track of sanitation services. The app notifies users when their trash and recycling is picked up, gives instructions on when and where to place trash or recycling bins and even has a feature to provide notifications prior to pickup days.

That app also has a tool that allows users to enter the name of a material in a search bar. The app will then tell the user where to dispose of that material.

For example a “windowed envelope” in the search bar would tell users to place that item in the recycling bin.

“Thanks to everyone for participating in our recycling program and for helping make this city a better place for our kids and for their kids,” Kriseman signed off.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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