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Dirty Alleys: Residents Must Maintain Back Alley

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UPDATE (8/21): The city and a sub-contractor cleaned up the alleys after the CHANNEL 5 NEWS report Friday.

Please call the city's public works department if anyone has any issues in their alleyways.

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WESLACO – If you take a drive down Bridge Street near Second Street in Weslaco, you'll find a quiet neighborhood. Dogs bark steps away on Lee Garza Street.

One glance at Maria Cabrera's house is enough to see she cares about how it looks.  We found her watering a lush garden.

Her garden is not on her mind. She's thinking about the waist-high weeds in the alleyway behind it.

"In some places, it's very, very bad,” Cabrera said.

The tiny strip of alleyway behind Maria’s home is spotless as she clears the area herself. Behind her neighbor's house is a different sight – rocks, weeds and grass.

"Some of us do clean it up, but I think it's the city's responsibility,” Cabrera said.

In some places the brush is simply overgrown. In others, trash and debris is piled high.

Weslaco Public Works director Pete Garcia Jr. understands the problem. He said fire, rescue and even sewer crews need to access the narrow alleys.

"Safety, safety, safety,” Garcia said. “You never know when the EMS needs to get in there.”

Garcia said the city is not required to keep alley brush clear.

"Per city ordinance, citizens are responsible for maintaining their back alley,” Garcia said.

Garcia knew about the problem on Lee Garza Street. If you don't look closely, he said someone might not even notice the alleyway because of the debris.

“This week we received some calls on Lee Garza, we went out there and called Texas Republic Services to help us,” Garcia said.  “They might be out there right now." 

The city subcontracts the cleanup of some alleys to Texas Republic. Garcia said he went to see this problem first-hand.

"If I feel they need our assistance, we help them, please bear with us,” Garcia said. “The first thing they need to do is just call us."

Garcia said there are some items permitted to be disposed of in the alleyway or side of street including: tree limbs, shrubs, grass and leaves.

The city said there is a twice-per-month bulky item pickup including: furniture, sofas, tables, chairs, mattresses, dryers, water heaters.

The following items are prohibited from being put out for pickup including: tires, construction material, shingles, corrugated metal, concrete, lumber, cardboard boxes, liquids, hazardous materials, bricks, dirt, car parts, batteries or items with Freon.

The city of Weslaco does allow you to drop-off some of these prohibited items at the Public Works Department at 1912 Joe Stephens Avenue between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

For tires, there is a four tire limit per household. To dump anything, you must be a city of Weslaco resident.

Garcia said if anyone feels like they’ve hit a dead end with a neighbor's alley, they can reach out the city public works office number at 956-973-3146.

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