ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – We are just days away from the kick-off of the 49th International Balloon Fiesta. That also means the official clean-up of the metro area.
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As thousands of spectators gather to look to the sky, those same eyes will be looking at the sights around Albuquerque. “We try to get neighborhoods to organize a clean-up in their neighborhood,” said Matt Whelan, Director of Solid Waste.
The Parks and Recreation and Solid Waste departments are hosting the annual cleanup on Saturday, September 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. “We just really want to make sure that those who are coming to see these beautiful balloons also see the beauty of our city,” said Whelan.
They are working with neighborhoods to pick up trash and bulk items so our guests see the best our city has to offer. “It’s really about teaming up with the residents of Albuquerque,” said Whelan.
But it’s not just trash clean-up. “They go in before we would even come in for a clean-up,” said Whelan.
Homeless encampments are also getting cleaned up. “Our department works in conjunction with family and community services and several other outreach providers to help and clean those areas,” said Whelan.
Workers from that department will be going around to homeless encampments around the city, not only to move them from the streets but to hopefully find a permanent and safe place for them to stay and not just during Balloon Fiesta. “To help and clean those areas but also offer services to those experiencing homelessness to see if we can get them in a program and help get them off the streets,” said Whelan.
While It’s important to have our home looking good when visitors are in town the city hopes to make it a permanent mindset. “We just want to continue to keep Albuquerque beautiful,” said Whelan.
The deadline to sign up for the neighborhood clean-up has passed but people can also sign up to volunteer and clean up at Balloon Fiesta Park on Saturday, September 25th. For anyone looking to report an encampment, they can call the 311 line.