by Mallory Leonard
Anna Marie Montrony is the citizen who reported the illegal dump at Green Acres last week. She has lived in Blount County for two years, having moved here from Long Island. She is a hairdresser and cosmetologist by trade and currently works for U-haul. Anna Marie lives in one of the apartment complexes behind the flea market, and she’s been trying to get it taken care of since she moved in.
She has tried to engage various governmental departments but received no response. “I felt like nobody was doing anything about it. People were like ‘Yeah it bothers us but there’s not much we can do about it.’” Then last week she decided to call the news and Keep Blount Beautiful, both of whom came out to the dump almost immediately.
“I got to a point where I said ‘Something has to be done.’ It’s becoming a nuisance. There are flies and mosquitoes and possums and raccoons and everything. It just keeps getting larger and larger. The beds, the couches. People getting rid of metal and tires and everything they want to get rid of.”
Anna Marie witnesses people dumping every single day, mostly at night. “I care about my community. I care about the air quality. This is a beautiful area but it’s getting run down.”
When the wind blows across the dump, the stench goes right into Anna Marie’s home. She’s fed up with the dump, and so is Scott Hammer, the manager of the flea market.
He’s been dealing with the problem for years. He’s set up cameras to capture license plates, but dumpers often see them and knock them down. When he has caught people and informed the police, he’s been told that law enforcement can only make them leave the property.
On some occasions, dumpers have even gotten violent with Scott. “People have said to me, ‘I can do whatever I want,’ and when I say, ‘No, you can’t; this is private property,’ they lash out and threaten me.”
He knows that part of the garbage is coming from the many apartments behind Green Acres. Residents dump their household trash here, leaving evidence of their identity. “I’ve found bills with people’s names on them, and I’ve taken the bags back to them.”
KBB is trying to help fix this problem. Like most of the challenges we face, this dump may appear to be an isolated problem, but it’s a symptom of a cultural and educational issue.