A couple weeks ago we reported that Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder was fed up with the accumulation of garbage alongside U.S. 20, particularly the heavily-traveled bypass from the C.R. 17 area west to the county line with St. Joseph County.
“I think many in our community have seen that mess,” Yoder told his fellow commissioners on April 14. “Trash is blowing off the (semi) trucks and the road is a mess.”
Indeed it was. Car debris, fast-food bags, broken wood and blown tires were prevalent in the medians, along the shoulders and on the knolls and in the ditches alongside the roadway.
THE MESS PROMPTED Esther Walter of Goshen to write a letter to the editor blasting the condition of the corridor.
“At one time I enjoyed traveling the U.S. 20 bypass to work every day,” she wrote. “In the spring I watched the green trees come alive and the flowers show their color. This spring is entirely different. I am appalled at the ugliness of the bypass currently. There is so much trash littering the roadside that in some places it is difficult to see the grass. … As a citizen of Elkhart County I am embarrassed.”
Well put. We are better than that.
So, on Monday we were encouraged to hear a report from Elkhart County Highway Manager Jeff Taylor to county commissioners that much of the unsightly trash along the road had been removed over the weekend, thanks to the combined efforts of about 30 work release inmates and volunteers. Taylor indicated that roughly eight truckloads of garbage was collected, mostly on the north side of the roughly 11-mile stretch. Taylor said the group of inmates and volunteers plans on heading back this weekend to work on the south side of the road.
IT’S NICE TO SEE a concern like this raised, and then handled promptly with positive action. Still, we all know that this problem doesn’t end when the work crew finishes up this weekend. Keeping this corridor free of debris will be an ongoing challenge. With the county landfill just south of the road between the Ind. 19 and U.S. 33 interchanges, wind-blown garbage will continue to be relentless. It seems continued volunteer/work release missions will be necessary.