Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

After a month of asking, Crescent City is about to give a green light to a local resident who’s been begging to help clean up certain areas of town.

Chris Hughey came to city council Monday to make another pitch to be allowed to clean up weeds and trash around trees on the one-way sections of U.S. 101 running through town.

Huey said he previously had questions about whether the city or state controls U.S. 101 through Crescent City and his research led him to believe it’s the city’s responsibility.

“The city can bill a business to clean up that area, and bill the business yearly to pay for the cost of doing it,” he said, “but the city is still held accountable.”

Huey cited case law where pedestrians successfully sued cities for injuries sustained on sidewalks next to buildings located off state highways.

Huey showed photos of the areas he wants to clean and explained his plan.

“I will not enter the street at all, I will just clean the shrubbery up,” he said, showing photos of weeds he feels are a safety hazard. “To alleviate all the problems, I will volunteer and clean it all up. I will be on a public sidewalk, I will use my tools which consist of a hoe, a flat shovel, (and) a broom.”

Huey added he will bring his own trash can and bags if they cannot be supplied by the city.

Hughey asked the city place safety cones in the areas where he wants to work and said he will wear a reflective safety vest.

Hughey said he has been asking the city for a month, and has signed all the necessary waivers. He said since U.S. 101 runs through the city in the areas he wishes to clean, he is not allowed to do so through Caltrans’ Adopt a Highway program.

Hughey also spoke of the entryways to the city’s tsunami memorial fountain, next to the library. He said planters in the area are in bad shape and could be renovated, along with the installation of bark beds for weed control, at minimal cost. He volunteered to renovate the area if the city covers cost of materials.

After a short back-and-forth discussion about state vs. city streets and related codes, Mayor Blake Inscore thanked Hughey for his dedication and willingness to help. Inscore said discussions with staff will continue on the issue.

At the same meeting, council approved a consent calendar item that allows volunteers woking on the city’s behalf, to have workman’s compensation insurance coverage.

City Manager Eric Wier said Wednesday that typically, volunteer groups, particularly, those affiliated with local churches, have their own insurance.

“Mr. Hughey didn’t have that,” Wier said. “That’s why we passed the resolution.”

Wier said the city appreciates Hughey’s enthusiasm and effort, but certain processes need to take place.

Wier said bigger proposed changes may have to go through the planning commission, but at this point, Hughey will be allowed to start cleaning up soon.

“Yes, we want him to get out there and help,” Wier said, “and we’ll work with him on the safety stuff. If anyone else wants to help out around the city, come in and talk to us. Volunteers are appreciated and we will help any way we can.”

Those wishing to volunteer should contact City Hall before performing any work. City Hall isat 377 J. St., Crescent City.