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Year's first Clean Sweep targets urban blight

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The City of Buffalo is conducting its first 'Clean Sweep' of 2013. More than 100 people from 25 various government and non-profit agencies are taking part in a neighborhood cleanup off East Ferry Street near Masten Avenue. Among its tasks, the 'Save Our Streets Task Force' is removing debris from vacant lots, trimming trees, demolishing unsalvageable houses, boarding up abandoned homes, baiting for rodents, and distributing job training information.   

Mayor Byron Brown says no overtime costs are incurred, so much of the cost is covered in the general city budget. 

"We don't run overtime. We don't ring up extra costs. It's just a way to efficiently and effectively mobilize our existing resources and focus them, over a 1-2 day period, in neighborhoods that are experiencing significant challenges," Brown said.

"After we're in the neighborhood for that day or two, the neighborhood looks dramatically different."

Some of the funding for the sweeps is provided through a federal Department of Justice grant.

Brown says 27 Clean Sweeps are planned in every city district over the next several months.