Spring Cleanup – History

The Evolution of Spring Cleanup

Check out Springfield’s Spring Cleanup video

In 2023, Springfield’s Spring Cleanup returned, at a new location, to continue the City’s strong commitment to our community and the environment.

This event originally began as a brush collection program in 1983. During the early years a P.U.S.H. Facilities Committee was created to promote a Springfest Cleanup. P.U.S.H. was an acronym for “Promote Unique Springfield Happenings.” This was an event that focused on cleaning up the downtown area between A St. and South A St. from Mill St. to 10th St. in preparation for Springfest festivities which began in early May of each year. These festivities included the Festival of Flowers and the Springfest Parade. The very next year Mayor John Lively issued a proclamation to proclaim the month of May 1984 as: P.U.S.H. “Community Pride Month.” His vision was:

“The City of Springfield desires to initiate a campaign with the ultimate goal of creating a more beautiful Springfield and encouraging community pride, to urge every citizen and every civic organization to dedicate themselves to observe this time by implementing appropriate cleanup projects that will not only benefit them personally, but will benefit the entire City of Springfield.”

Additionally, drop boxes were strategically placed in five locations throughout the city for the convenience of dropping off yard debris, paper, and exterior trash. With the help of city workers and Neighborhood Watch volunteers, residents were able to dispose of these items both Saturday and Sunday one weekend a year.

In 1986 the P.U.S.H. committee was dissolved and the Cleanup effort sponsorship was replaced with the Springfield Downtown Association and Sanipac. City workers and Neighborhood Watch volunteers continued to fill Sanipac drop boxes with yard debris and refuse for landfill disposal.

In 1988 the City of Springfield took the lead in this event and called it “Spruce-Up Springfield.” City officials were excited to advertise an opportunity for residents to get rid of unwanted yard debris for free. The idea was to reduce nuisance code violations by allowing residents to clean up their yards and dispose of this debris in one convenient location, free of charge. Citizens brought their yard debris to the city parking lot on B St. where City Maintenance staff unloaded vehicles, chipped brush, and loaded up Sanipac drop boxes.

As the popularity of the event grew, the B St. parking lot and a handful of maintenance workers were no longer adequate to handle such a large influx of participation. In 1993 the event was renamed Spring Cleanup and moved to the Booth Kelly site.

“Spring Cleanup becomes a recycling event!”

Through newly created partnerships with area businesses and non-profit agencies, items began to get sorted out and placed into appropriate drop boxes for recycling. Appliances, tires, plastics, and propane tanks could now be accepted. The response from our community was overwhelmingly positive. The site was moved to the 4500 block of Main St. where the old Rexius landscape yard used to be located. The residents of Springfield were eager to recycle. The line of vehicles often stretched down Main St. through the 42nd St. intersection creating quite a traffic jam. In 2005 Spring Clean Up moved once again, this time to a city-owned lot at 1600 South B St., where it is still held today.

In 2023, the Spring Cleanup found a new home at Sanipac’s recycling and sorting facility, EcoSort in Glenwood. The location is a better fit for the number of residents participating each year and allows for better traffic flow. Wait times have decreased as the number of vehicle trips has increased.