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Dumping on the Razorback Greenway worries residents

After many residents voiced concerns about the trash near the trail, the city is working to keep the Razorback Greenway clean.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The City of Fayetteville and the Razorback Greenway are working on solutions to keep trash from cluttering near the trail after receiving emails and seeing several social media posts.

"It's a complex issue though, right," said Razorback Greenway Manager Tristan Hill.

The issue essentially comes down to two factors, property and the impact on those experiencing homelessness.

"We don’t want to displace people who don't have anywhere to go," Hill said. "We don't want to punish people for their circumstances."

However, Hill along with the City of Fayetteville believes that the unhoused community might be illegally camping and dumping near the Greenway.

"It is monitored, but in a lot of areas like that it's actually not on publicly owned property," Hill said.

Hill says the Greenway is working with Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas to address the problem.

"There's no single solution to the problem but it takes a collective community effort," said said City of Fayetteville Environmental Director, Peter Nierengarten. "Part of it is trying to first identify all the locations where we got illegal dumping or remnants from illegal camping."

Once that happens, Officials say they will contact and identify the property owners. However, that's an issue too. They are working to identify whose property the trash is even on.

"Deeds have been transferred, it's been brought, it's been sold, so nobody's honestly super sure who owns it," Hill said.

After jumping that hurdle, Nierengarten says it will work with the owner to remove the trash.

"That's why we're actively trying to get it addressed and cleaned up as quickly as we can," said Nierengarten. 

City council member Sarah Moore says the city must go to the root of the problem: "The lack of affordable housing, and the lack of entry-level attainable rental housing for some of our more vulnerable."

Tuesday. March 7, she's introducing a resolution to give nearly $1,000,000 in ARPA funds to allow a nonprofit to create affordable housing.

"It's a win-win," Moore said.

Not only is the trash an eyesore, but Nierengarten also says it creates some environmental concerns.

“That area town drains to the White River and Beaver Lake which is a drinking water supply for Northwest Arkansas. So, we certainly recognize and understand the environmental impact of that.”

“That's why we’re actively trying to get it addressed, and cleaned up as quickly as we can,” Nierengarten said.

Fayetteville and the Greenway are both thankful for volunteers that help clean up, and say there is a program paying those experiencing homelessness to help clean the Greenway.

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