Streetplus cleaning team begins trash removal, beautification of downtown


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

The six-member team will work on Evanston’s streets to enhance the cleanliness of the area for a one-year period.

Shannon Tyler, Assistant City Editor

As temperatures dropped and the first snow of the winter hit the ground this week, maintenance company Streetplus started its work in Evanston, cleaning downtown, Main Street and Howard Street. 

City Council approved a half-million dollar contract with Streetplus at its Sept. 12 meeting to provide enhanced cleaning, maintenance, landscaping and hospitality for the next year. Funding for the services came from the American Rescue Plan Act. 

Evanston’s StreetPlus team is made up of six members who have janitorial experience and are responsible for removing graffiti, stickers, trash and leaves, among other maintenance and services. 

Despite the cold, Evanston’s Streetplus Operating Manager Candace Mason said the team hopes to bring the warm feeling back to Evanston. 

“Our main goal is to make sure that the community is clean, make sure that the businesses are up and running and functioning properly, and make sure that (Evanston is) welcoming to the pedestrians,” she said. 

According to Annie Coakley, executive director of Downtown Evanston, an enhanced cleaning program has been a discussion for the city since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When the city received ARPA funds, Coakley said city staff agreed a cleaning program would be a good post-pandemic investment to aid business recovery. 

“Ensuring Evanston’s unique and vibrant retail districts are clean and welcoming is essential not only for our small businesses, but for our citywide economic recovery,” said Economic Development Manager Paul Zalmezak in a news release. 

Coakley said the city reviewed many proposals for cleaning companies but ultimately chose StreetPlus because of its ten-year-old program in downtown Chicago and its great reviews. 

“These types of services are provided in cities all over and have been for years and years,” she said. “In particular, I feel (Streetplus) has a really great track record.”

Mason said this first week of operations has been challenging with the cold weather. But the team was able to remove 65 graffitis, 75 stickers and 40 bags of trash within a week, she said. 

While the group focuses on trash removal, Mason said they are also trained in hospitality. They are available to answer pedestrians’ questions about the city while working in uniform and provide information on resources for those experiencing homelessness, Mason said. 

Members of the team also trained for a week and learned how to operate tools like power washers and leaf blowers. Mason said they walked through Evanston to get to know the city’s ins and outs, and they are also mandated to report anything unsafe they see. 

“We definitely want all the businesses that may have left downtown Evanston to return tenfold,” Mason said. “We are here to make sure that the community is safe, clean and just friendly.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @shannonmtyler

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