The City of Lancaster has been recognized for its inventive work to keep the city free from discarded trash and graffiti. Lancaster is the 2021 recipient of the Creative & Innovative B.E.S.T. Award – Building Excellence and Shaping Tomorrow – from the American Public Works Association (APWA) SoCal chapter.

The APWA Awards Program recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, and chapters representing the best in public works nationwide.

APWA chose Lancaster for the honor due to its initiative in clearing abandoned trash from its streets and open spaces, and removing graffiti from its buildings and other structures. Between January to June 2021, graffiti was cleaned at more than 1,200 locations throughout the city including street signs, parks, lampposts, and sidewalks, covering more than 84,000 square feet, and more than 1,100 tons of illegally dumped trash was picked up including hundreds of mattresses and tires as well as televisions and engine oil.

The work is conducted by a team of dedicated part-time and full-time City staff and contractors who go by the clever name of Team of Illegal Dump Eliminators, or the TIDE Crew. Established in 2020, the team is housed in the City’s Public Works unit.

“The TIDE Crew has done a tremendous job and deserves this recognition,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “They are improving our community not only by beautifying it for all of us, but also saving taxpayers millions in clean-up costs; getting rid of garbage that can be a safety hazard to people, wildlife and plants; preventing disease-carrying rodents and insects from developing a breeding ground; and averting the polluting of groundwater.”

The APWA is a not-for-profit, international organization with more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA promotes professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy, and the exchange of knowledge.

“Everything we do, including the work of the [Lancaster] TIDE Crew, is with the goal of improving life for all in Lancaster,” Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist said. “By working together, we will continue to ensure that our community is a clean and safe place for everyone who lives and works here.”

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