Downtown District trying to snuff out cigarette litter

Keep America Beautiful grant pays for eight new receptacles for cigarette butts

A new
A new "Keep America Beautiful" grant worth $1,000 has provided funding for eight new receptacles, including this one in front of the downtown Fieldhouse bar. The Downtown District hopes even more will come soon. (Dallas HoutzThe Gazette)

The Downtown District is hoping to put the fire out on a growing problem in Cedar Rapids. And a new grant is helping them do just that.

Downtown streets are often filled with cigarette butts. It’s something that comes along with the growing number of people paying a visit to the downtown.

"Traffic is increasing, we're seeing more people on the streets, especially during events and high traffic times, so we want to make sure we are physically prepared for that amount of smokers,” said Cedar Rapids Downtown District’s Quinn Pettifer.

Now, the Downtown District believes a new Keep America Beautiful grant will help put out the problem of downtown cigarette litter.

It provided $1,000 worth of funding, which was used to purchase eight new receptacles.

“We want to make sure smokers do have access to those receptacles rather than just throwing them on the streets,” Pettifer said.

Since the ban of indoor smoking took effect in 2008, the Downtown District said it has noticed a growing amount of cigarette butts along downtown streets.

It's an issue that has caused concern for visitors and business owners.

"As a bar we usually have to come out every morning after the day before’s mess. We put trash receptacles out for people, but they don't always make it in there,” said Downtown Fieldhouse Bar Manager Nicci Himes.

The Downtown District hopes even more of those receptacles will come in the future.

"As long as we're able to keep those kinds of grants going, we're going to be able to increase the number of receptacles and thus improve our litter issues downtown,” Pettifer said.

The new cigarette butt containers are scattered throughout downtown.

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