Highland Park “Gum Clean Up” targets a sticky problem

Sidewalk hum drops | Courtesy Amy Inouye


HIGHLAND PARK — Gum on the sidewalk is a pet peeve for designer Amy Inouye. The sidewalk outsider her Figueroa Street studio and gallery have been power washed and steam cleaned but many of those dried wads of gum have stubbornly remained in place. That’s what inspired her to organize a Saturday sidewalk “Gum Clean Up.”

The sidewalks of Figueroa are dotted with the flattened and dark remains of ABC gum left behind by years of visitors to long-time restaurants and shops as well as buzzy new restaurants and boutiques.

Inouye sought out the advice of some of the business owners along Fig with clean sidewalks for advice on the best way to get rid of the gum. Their answer: a scraper and a little bit of elbow grease.

Inouye was able to get Councilmember Gil Cedillo office to provide metal scrapers as well as snacks and coffee for the volunteers on Saturday.

“There are no goals or expectations for the event, but since we’re meeting at Future Studio, I’m hoping that at least my block gets done!” said Inouye.

She expects only a small group of residents and business owners to show up but said she is hoping that the crowd of gum-removing volunteers will continue to grow over time.

“I’m hoping the momentum can build and this can become a meet your neighbors and have some coffee kind of thing,” said Inouye.

The Gum Clean Up will be held on Saturday, February 3 from 8 am -11 am. Volunteers will meet at 5558 N. Figueroa St.

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  1. Bless Amy’s heart. But this is really a management problem. Where most business districts employ professional power washers to keep the sidewalks clean, local BID, the North Figueroa Association doesn’t. And it shows. Imagine if the city and the BID had instead of spending thousands of dollars on dysfunctionial Big Belly solar cans, invested in regular power washing.

    Also, what’s up with the tile sidewalk mosaics that were supposed to be installed last year? They cut the holes in the sidewalk over a year ago, and still no mosaics.

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