Ashland City Councilors said downtown trash cans are an eyesore, but they asked city staff to look for cheaper alternatives to $1,000-per-can replacements that were originally proposed.

Ashland City Councilors said downtown trash cans are an eyesore, but they asked city staff to look for cheaper alternatives to $1,000-per-can replacements that were originally proposed.

The city of Ashland is investigating costs for sprucing up the downtown, including replacing garbage cans, washing sidewalks and improving planter boxes.

An Ashland Chamber of Commerce Downtown Task Force previously identified areas for improvement and passed on its concerns to city officials.

The City Council heard an update on the downtown spruce-up issue during a Monday night study session.

City of Ashland Management Analyst Ann Seltzer said city staff had identified replacement garbage cans that would cost $1,000 each. There are 37 downtown garbage cans, so the cost to replace them all could reach $37,000.

Seltzer said public garbage cans must be strong enough to withstand vandalism, heavy use and cars bumping into them.

The city currently has garbage cans that are housed in wooden slat containers. The cans have no covers to conceal trash or keep rain out, and some of the containers have broken wooden slats.

"I think the trash cans are terrible and they are a health risk," Councilor Carol Voisin said during the Monday night study session.

Councilor Greg Lemhouse responded, "Yeah, they're gross, but $1,000 a trash can is a lot of money."

Councilors directed city staff to investigate cheaper alternatives.

— Vickie Aldous

Read more about plans to spruce up downtown Ashland in Wednesday's Daily Tidings.