Litter is getting cleaned up along 20 of Indy's busiest roads


INDIANAPOLIS — Litter is getting cleaned up along some of the busiest roads across Indianapolis by a group known as "The Clean Team."

"So we've been deploying people where it's most needed," Jeremy Kranowitz, President & CEO of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful said.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has identified 20 busy roads that have a lot of litter using both visual inspections and complaints filed with the Mayor's Action Center.

"We just want to make sure that our community understands the importance of keeping our city safe and clean, it makes everybody happier and makes everybody healthier," Glenn Johnson, Executive Director of Contract Accounts with Keys2Work said.

Keys2Work and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful are working together to employ those on The Clean Team, who need a second chance.

"What we primarily focus on is returning citizens, people who are returning from the criminal justice system, also homeless individuals that are trying to get their lives back on track, as well as at risk young adults that are coming not only out of the criminal justice system, but hard times," Johnson said.

In 2019, Keys2Work launched a pilot program with the Office of Public Health and Safety to help those experience homelessness get back on their feet.

"Now we have multiple areas where individuals are cleaning up litter, so I can now promote individuals who have been a shining star in that space, that want to go on and do well with their lives," Johnson said.

Several of those individuals are part of The Clean Team.

"You get a chance to watch someone come through our program initially with partnering with Recycle Force, that have no options, nowhere to go, nowhere to turn, to now making livable wages, now have industry recognized credentials, and they're moving on with their lives," Johnson said.

Jeffrey Nixon spent time incarcerated. When he was released, he went right to Recycle Force to get back to work.

"That place will give you a chance like as soon as you come home... they are trying to keep you safe," Nixon said.

Now, he's a member of The Clean Team.

"I just want to keep on being positive, keep employment, and I'm really glad for this place that got me this job," Nixon said.

The Clean Team has picked up litter along parts of 38th Street, Fall Creek Parkway, 86th Street and will soon move to Central & Capitol Avenues.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful wants the businesses, churches and community centers in those areas to "Adopt a Block" in order to keep litter levels low.

"We have the ability to give tools and equipment to those organizations.... they can play a role in keeping it low and not letting it get back up to the bad state it was originally," Kranowitz said.