Groups not completing required clean-ups to sponsor Cedar Rapids roads

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:37 PM CDT
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EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this story included specific companies listed with the city records as not completing the required litter clean-up. Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust was incorrectly listed as it has performed its tasks but was not recorded with city records. As a precaution, all company names were removed.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - City Data shows groups aren’t cleaning-up roads in Cedar Rapids, which they commit to cleaning up twice each year in exchange for a sign promoting their organization.

According to city data, which our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team received from an open records request, less than 10% of the groups signed up in the city’s “Adopt a Road” program fulfilled their commitment over the past three years. Although few groups completed the requirement before the pandemic, the number decreased once the pandemic in 2020.

Some of the groups not completing the requirement private companies, churches, school groups, girl/boy scout troops and neighborhood associations. Data from the city shows numerous agencies within city government didn’t complete the requirement either.

Roy Hesemann, who is the utilities director for the city of Cedar Rapids, said some groups may clean up roads they sponsor themselves without notifying city staff in an email. He also said staff follow up with organizations and provide kits and cleanup supplies.

“The Adopt-a-Road program is a volunteer opportunity for local groups, and we thank the organizations and businesses who participate,” Hesemann said. “We also welcome any groups who are interested in signing up, as we encourage our residents, businesses, and City staff to help keep Cedar Rapids clean, safe, and healthy, now and into the future.

She also the city has collected 4,409 bags of litter in the fiscal year 2023 from the City Manager’s 1-Bag Challenge

“We are proud of these efforts and are thankful for everyone who helps clean up Cedar Rapids,” Hessemann said in an email.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has a similar program called “Adopt a Highway”. John Hart. who is the maintenance bureau director, for the Iowa Department of Transportation said about 1,100 groups participate in the program each year. He said staff sends reminders to groups, but there are so few canceled the group doesn’t formally keep track.