Wheeling Florist Says Trash Situation Not Rosy

YWCA Says City Picks Up Garbage Three Times a Week

Photo Provided Trash sits awaiting pick-up outside the Wheeling YWCA last week. Brian Gessler, owner of the neighboring Laupp Florist, said the smell and mess from the dumpsters are affecting business.

WHEELING — The smell of flowers at the 1100 block of Eoff Street isn’t mixing with the stench of trash in a dumpster behind the Wheeling YWCA.

Brian Gessler, owner of Laupp Florist, said garbage, odor and the YWCA dumpster have been an issue ever since he located to 1109 Eoff St. 18 years ago. Only an alley separates the entrance to his business from the sometimes overflowing dumpster

Gessler said he is in no way opposed to the YWCA, and often contributes to their causes. In turn, YWCA workers are customers of his.

But he wishes the YWCA and the city could come to a solution regarding the trash.

Lori Jones, executive director of the YWCA, said they have been trying to work with Gessler.

“Due to Mr. Gessler’s years of complaints, we have switched trash management companies,” she said. “We are now with the city of Wheeling. It’s picked up three times a week. We police the alley every day, and we try very hard to be good neighbors.”

She said the YWCA has no other place where it can place a dumpster. Gessler disagrees, saying there is room for them to put the dumpster on the side of the building where workers and patrons often go outside to stand or eat lunch.

It isn’t always trash that’s the problem, he said. The garbage trucks, themselves, discharge liquid on the street, and it isn’t unusual to find broken glass there or for his delivery trucks to have a flat tire.

One day last week, Gessler said the smell and mess were so bad he went outside and cleaned the alley himself, dumping four gallons of bleach on the pavement to disinfect it and kill the stench.

The area also is attracting wildlife, according to Gessler. There have been rats, raccoons and possums, and he reports last summer he trapped seven groundhogs in the alley.

“Here we are a flower shop, and people like to come in and smell the flowers,” he said. “But there have been times when customers have become sick when they got out of their car.”

He and his wife described the stench as smelling like vomit or sour milk.

Gessler said he hopes the public will be inclined to call the city and their council members and ask why any resident or business “should have to put up with this.”

City Manager Robert Herron said he has been in contact with Gessler regarding the trash problem, but hasn’t spoken with him recently. Messages seeking additional comment were not immediately returned.