“Operation Clean Sweep” was successful

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Knoxville Police Department’s community service officers have completed their first-ever “Operation Clean Sweep” and are pleased with the results.

Of the 2,833 properties – every one in Knoxville’s City limits – there were 2,380 with no compliance issues. Every address received a door hanger, including all of those that had no issues. They were just given appreciation by the City for doing their part in making the town’s appearance better.

“We received a lot of positive feedback throughout the process,” Mayor Brian Hatch said. “I appreciate staff taking this project on and I hope it is something we can look at doing on some sort of regular basis. From what I understand, overall, staff was pleased with the results. I want to thank the community for their cooperation and the pride they take in making Knoxville great.”

In total, there were only 453 issues that needed to be addressed, located on 322 properties. The 322 represent 8.8 percent of the town, and some of them had multiple issues.

Community Service Officer Arlene Worrall said she and her assistant walked 91 miles hitting every property for around three days a week over a six-week period earlier this summer. The inspections took 85 working hours.

Of the issues discovered – no citations were written during this process – the biggest issue was debris, with 103 instances. The rest of the issues discovered include:

  • Refuse, 11
  • Construction materials, 9
  • Weeds, 85
  • Dead trees on right of way, 15
  • Sidewalk issues, 25
  • Gravel in the right of way, 1
  • Exterior Wall Surfaces, 64 (CSOs only took note if over 50 percent of a building needed paint.)
  • Water discharge, 4
  • Accessory Structures, 23
  • Junk vehicles, 74
  • Grass parking, 56
  • Obstructions, 24
  • Chickens without a permit, 4

If the CSOs do this again, they have been asked by Fire Chief Cal Wyman to take note of the homes with no numbers on front. Housing numbers are crucial to public safety to enable first responders to find your home.

Worrall said the response was so positive that there were people waiting for them upon their arrival. People were eager to show off their properties and ensure they’re doing enough to keep Knoxville beautiful.

“It’s a different look when you’re not just driving by,” Worrall said of many Knoxville properties. So many people across town have put in a great deal of work to make their homes inviting and friendly, she added. “We definitely felt it was a worthwhile investment of our time.”

Some of the issues identified during the operation have already been addressed. Worrall further expressed her appreciation to the many organizations around town willing to help others with their property.

“That’s what it’s all about,” she said. “Neighbors helping neighbors.”

For those she has not received updates on, she intends to follow-up with them. When the follow-up visits are complete, the CSOs will return to property inspections based upon complaints.

Local resources for property clean-up include the South Central Iowa Solid Waste Agency, ABS Sanitation, Knoxville Hardware, Brown’s Sanitation and Regional Recycling, Lambirth Towing, The Well, and USDA Rural Development.

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