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Chicopee Addresses Ways to Control Abandoned Shopping Carts

cartCHICOPEE, Mass (WGGB) — One local community is trying to corral abandoned shopping carts once and for all. A unique special city ordinance was passed by the city council earlier this year and is soon to take effect.

Complainants say that the carts are not just blocking parking spots, and city officials agree.

“It’s absolutely impacting quality of life. The problem, it’s the safety,” Ward 6 Councilor Tim McLellan said. “They are left on the sidewalks, they are left on the street. What if a child is riding their bike and they have to go around them?”

The new ordinance will fine stores $100 per cart each time one is found off store property and is moved to DPW. McLellan says carts are found everywhere, leading to constant complaints from constituents.

“I’ve been working on this for at least 2.5 years,” he said. “They leave them on Sheridan (Street.) I mean I’ve seen them on the Deady Bridge. I’ve seen them at the rotaries.”

Wednesday’s meeting was to bring mostly Memorial Drive hotels and stores together to brainstorm further solutions while reviewing the new regulations. Quality Inn management says many homeless families living in hotels transport groceries from stores to their temporary homes in the carts, but then dump the carts anywhere and everywhere. The city says Wal-Mart is the biggest offender. They didn’t show up at Wednesday’s meeting, but Big Y did.

“We don’t want to lose our carts either,” Lost Prevention Field Manager Maureen Fuller said. “It’s never a good thing when our carts are left laying around town. It’s not good for us because they cost money, then our customers don’t have them to use them and it’s certainly not a good thing for the city.”

Big Y locks up carts at night, seeks charges on anyone trying to steal them, and retrieves any lost carts. The city says if other stores don’t do the same, it’s soon going to start costing them.

“We’re not here looking to, you know, pad the bank account, we just want some cooperation from the stores that are the biggest offenders to take responsibility for their property,” McLellan said.

The Quality Inn says they are doing all they can to work and inform residents. The Days Inn was another big place where the same situation is taking place and they were invited to Wednesday’s meeting, but did not attend.

The new ordinance takes effect June sixth.

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