City of Westfield hires four for downtown clean-up

Zachary Lefebvre cleans a planter in the area of Park Square and Court Street Wednesday morning. Lefebvre is one of four seasonal employees hired by the city to help improve portions of downtown. (The Westfield News)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The city is attempting to clean up the downtown area of the city over the summer through the work of four seasonal employees.

The four employees have begun working this week, as part of an effort to improve some portions of downtown and elsewhere that have become neglected or overcome with plant growth or trash. The seasonal help is expected to continue their efforts through September and their salaries were a line item in the recently-passed budget.

“Their primary tasks are a lot of beautifying efforts—to weed, unfortunately trash pick-up and other tasks,” Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan said of the employees.

According to Mayor Sullivan, the employees will be working from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the budgeting item was done in conjunction with the city’s Department of Public Works. The line item, he said, was roughly $20,000. No benefits are given to the seasonal employees, Sullivan said.

According to Sullivan, upkeep of the downtown area was budgeted for previously and also was previously part of the tasks of the now-defunct Business Improvement District (BID). The BID was disbanded in 2014 following a July city council vote that same year.

“It used to be bigger,” Sullivan said referring to the cost, “but it has been reduced over time. But it’s less than paying an outside vendor for this work.”

According to Steve Wingate, foreman for land and natural resources who was with the employees along Court Street and Park Square Wednesday morning, though they have been on the job for just “a couple days” they have already covered portions of downtown including School Street, as well as the city’s esplanade.