Santa Paula Times

Bells, whistles and bristles: The city’s new battery-operated riding scrubber was out for a test run in recent weeks, taking a first swipe at beautifying the Downtown.

Bells, whistles, bristles: Riding scrubber gets Downtown test run

April 08, 2016
Santa Paula News

It’s a big, mean, cleaning machine and city sidewalks in the Downtown will soon be shivering — nay shining — under the rotating brushes of the Advance SC6500 45 Cylinder w/Eco Flex System Rider Scrubber.

The $35,000-plus scrubber was approved for purchase by the City Council at the March 21 meeting and the big machine has already been out early whipping a portion of the sidewalk into cleanliness, 45-inches of scrub path at a time.

It has all the bells and whistles — and bristles — to keep Downtown sidewalks clean, an issue that has been causing concern among citizens, merchants and economic development advocates at the aesthetic decline of the historic district. 

Connie Tushla, the chairwoman of the city’s Economic Development Citizens Advisory Committee, sharply urged the council at the March 21 mid-year budget update to fund more efforts toward improving the appearance of the Downtown.

Tushla said she had interviewed 27 Santa Paula residents and businesses and asked them what the chamber could do to improve economic vitality. 

“Ninety-five percent,” noted Tushla, replied cleanliness.

“…everyone said we have to maintain pride,” and help the local economy grow through an inviting Downtown — with its hanging flower baskets and planters — maintained on a regular basis.

The total price of the equipment including a city decal and extra safety features is $38,556, an expenditure that will be funded from the State Gas Tax. 

According to Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez, a test run of the battery-operated scrubber was conducted last week on the south side of East Main Street from Mill to Davis streets.

Yanez said the council will be asked to hire two part-time workers “To spend time downtown…they’ll also be operating the scrubber,” on a schedule and pattern of work that accommodates its four to six hour battery life.

“It came out very nice when we did the test run,” said Yanez although removing dirt, mud, and debris from the sidewalk crevices is a challenge.

The new equipment “Blows and scrubs and vacuums,” using little water — “You can walk behind it and not slip…the sidewalk is wet but not soaked” — with minimal noise.

Public Works Rob Howard is “Figuring out what we can do in the time allotted by the battery power and hopefully, by July 1 we’ll have the two part-timers, no later than that.”

Yanez noted that some merchants have always kept the front of their businesses clean and deserve credit for grooming their turf. 

Either way, “We’re going to make it work and make it a priority to keep the Downtown clean. We’re putting the resources to it and organizing it…I think it will be good.”