Cleanslate, the stewards of 53rd Street, returning to Hyde Park this spring

Travis Carter of Cleanslate maintains the sidewalk outside of a Harper Court storefront Monday afternoon. -Marc Monaghan

Travis Carter of Cleanslate maintains the sidewalk outside of a Harper Court storefront Monday afternoon.

-Marc Monaghan

 

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

Cleanslate, the street beautification company that removed litter and snow from 53rd Street until funding dried up in 2011, will return this spring.

The 53rd Street Tax Increment Financing District employed Cleanslate to remove litter, clean sidewalks and remove snow from the district from 2009 through 2011. The district’s relationship with Cleanslate ended after $23.4 million TIF dollars were allocated to the Harper Court project.

In 2010 the TIF district spent $217,000 for 30 Cleanslate employees to work in Hyde Park.

Eric Reaves, the program manager for the 53rd Street Special Service Area, said the South East Chicago Commission, the sponsoring agency for the SSA, will apply for a loan anticipating the taxes the area will collect next year.

The SSA was founded in 2013 but will not begin collecting taxes until 2014’s property taxes are collected. The tax anticipation loan will allow Cleanslate to begin work before the SSA has any money in its coffers.

The 53rd Street SSA has allocated $45,000 for Cleanslate to send a crew two days per week to do street beautification along the area’s footprint.

Beautification efforts will include removing litter, power-washing sidewalks, cleaning light poles and removing snow from the crosswalks and bus stops.

Cleanslate’s initial contract with the 53rd Street SSA will likely have them work two days per week but can be increased as needed.

The SSA passed an initial budget for 2014 by a unanimous voice vote on Wednesday, April 23. It also allocated $40,000 for advertising and promotion, $25,000 separately for snow plowing, $31,000 for additional transit for special events and to alleviate parking problems, $17,000 for landscaping, $55,814 for personnel and $24,700 for administrative costs.

l.welbers@hpherald.com