March 11, 2013Updated: March 11, 2013 | 6:28 pm
Clean Team members Julie Riengeutte, 31, front, and Dan Try, 18, both of London, pick up litter Monday as they make their way along King Street.
Meet the Clean Team: Green-vested, garbage-can hauling fighters of downtown grit.
The team is making its debut this week — roaming downtown streets and snatching up litter during the World Figure Skating Championships.
And, they just might be sticking around for good.
“This week’s a pilot,” Downtown London manager Janette MacDonald said. “We’re going to get together after the fact and see where we might go from here.”
MacDonald, drawing inspiration from several other Canadian and U.S. cities, is behind the team.
She considers it a bit of a “social enterprise” aimed at polishing downtown’s sparkle while creating job opportunities through a partnership with Clean Works and Goodwill Industries.
MacDonald’s organization provided the seed money —about $14,000. The goal, she said, is to for the partners to help keep it afloat financially.
The team started working Monday and will be on streets about 13 hours each day. If the effort continues, MacDonald said it could start as early as spring and take several forms, including hitting streets several days a week (winter excluded) or only during special events.
Picking up cigarette butts is one of the big focuses but team members are fielding everything from half-eaten apples to plastic utensils.
Core streets may never be completely clean. But, they certainly can look better, MacDonald said.
“Downtown is (London’s) calling card,” she said. “We don’t want messy fingerprints all over it.”