ST. LOUIS – A half-mile stretch of road from St. Louis City into St. Louis County is becoming known as the “garbage trail” due to illegal dumping. There are concerns that may one day lead to a dangerous confrontation.
It’s on Spring Garden Drive, where the Village of Riverview, unincorporated St. Louis County (Glasgow Village), and the City of St. Louis all come together.
Illegal dumping is so bad that heaps of trash often spill into the curving roadway, forcing drivers to steer around it. It’s dangerous, ugly, and stinky.
“It looks like the city dump out there,” Glasgow Village resident Laura Wholschlaeger said. “There was a couch and tree branch hanging out there, so you have to weasel your way around and try not to have an accident going around this curve over here.”
“I’ve stopped several people from dumping right there,” Harlan Smith, owner of the All in the Family Child Care Center in Riverview, said. “I said, ‘Hey, you guys can’t do that! Take whatever you got and go!’”
Residents routinely snap photos and videos of people in the act.
One sign warns dumpers about fines and jail time. Another simply asks for respect.
The response is always more dumping.
People say it has continued for at least six years.
There’s a little bit of everything, from people neatly tying up trash bags, then dumping the bags from their cars, to contractors tossing construction debris. There’s old furniture, a half-dozen mattresses, and a kiddie swimming pool, along with heaps of standard household garbage.
Smith is now hiring people to clean up the roadside along his property.
“It gets overbearing. My kids don’t deserve to see that. That’s why we’re in a country setting. I want my kids to see the country. I don’t want them to see the trash,” he said.
A Riverview official told FOX 2 the roadside trash would be cleaned up.
“What does it say to the people who are coming to rent a house or buy a house in this neighborhood, when that’s the first thing they see coming in here?” Michael Golde said.
Golde is a realtor and member of the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission who manages a property in the area. “It’s a horrible eyesore,” he said. “Nobody should have to live with it.”
“It’s pretty sad,” Wohlschlaeger said.
St. Louis Alderwoman Pam Boyd is calling for a combined effort from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Riverview to install surveillance cameras, prosecute offenders, and clean up the garbage trail once and for all.