SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Walking through Wright Square was a lot easier on Friday than it was six days ago, during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
“When you see it, it hurts. It hurts that people have no respect for this space,” said Gordon Denney, Director, City of Savannah Greenscapes Division.
It took some inconsiderate people all of St. Patrick’s Day morning to trash Wright Square, leaving their party behind in a blanket of litter, but it took the City of Savannah a little over two hours to put everything back the way it was before the parade.
“At the end of the parade, we had about 10 people ready to begin cleaning the square once we asked everyone to leave."
“It was back together in just a few hours,” said John Denion, Director, City of Savannah Sanitation Department. “People were able to use the square pretty quickly. It’s all part of the overall city planning. We want the squares to be clean.”
The Wright Square mess became an embarrassment for Savannah, but the response to it turned into a positive - the way some parade-watchers stayed behind to help.
“They finished cleaning theirs. They looked over and said that’s unacceptable to leave, and they’re going to help clean it up, and they went over and started cleaning up other people’s trash."
In the unexpected attention, the situation seems to have focused on the city’s anti-litter campaign, launched two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day.
“What’s really impressive is the way people pitched in and helped out,” said Carliss Bates, Outreach Coordinator, City of Savannah Sanitation Department. “Now, we know people are listening and that what we’re trying to do is being contagious in our city.”
It doesn’t only have to happen on St. Patrick’s Day.
“I think it’s great that people would help out. You’d have a cleaner city and we’d be able to do even better things with what we have.”
“I believe people are going to look at that and say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that.’ They’re going to look at their little bit of trash and say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that mess,’ and maybe they will start picking up even the smallest amounts.”
“This is a great community and we have a lot of great people ho are really willing to do their part, so we’re very excited about it.”
Everyone with the city we spoke to pointed out that the people who left the mess in Wright Square were in the minority of parade-goers, and that most people cleaned up after themselves.