From reporter to taking out the trash: Katie Love Investigates - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

From reporter to taking out the trash: Katie Love Investigates

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Restaurant manager, Beheatherlyn Kirby, is about to start her nightly routine of taking five to six trash bins to the new trash compactor in Downtown Roanoke.

I joined her rolling the cans to get the full experience.

The compactor is something city leaders say eliminates unsightly trash from the sidewalks, encourages recycling, and improves the overall Downtown Roanoke experience.

Kirby works at Metro on Campbell Avenue. She's takes the trash about four blocks to the compactor and on weekends she says fights through big crowds.

While, several restaurant owners complain it's a risk having employees leave their business. They fear insurance rates will increase when employees dressed for food service, are doing garbage duty.

"I've taken pepper spray with me because of all the comments I've had walking down the street from intoxicated people from bars," Metro manager, Beheatherlyn Kirby says.

There was a long line at the trash compactor when we made it there around 10:30 p.m.

Employees from about 6 different restaurants all had similar complaints about the change.

"It's very time consuming and not only do I have to pay for extra labor and productivity, but I'm having to waste 30 to 45 minutes doing this," Subway General Manager, Christina Parks says.

Extra time, extra money, and something Parks' says is a little dangerous.

She shows us broken glass on the ground and points out there's no security sensor on the compactor. This means if someone is standing in between the door, it won't automatically remain open.

"My girl almost got taken out with that," Kirby says.

Not everyone waiting to dump trash was upset.

The Executive Chef of Table 50 says this compactor accomplishes the goal of getting trash off the sidewalks.

"It's been great for us," Table 50 Chef, Travis Powell says. "Obviously it's close for us, so it makes a difference. It's awesome. We can take our trash out when ever we want."

For many of these employees though, they say benefits don't out weigh the hassle.

We took a list of the complaints to Roanoke's City Manager, Chris Morrill.

Many of them, he said he was hearing for the first time. He plans to continue working with the restaurant owners to make sure this a better situation for everyone.

"We are only a few days into this and knew there would be challenges and we absolutely are working through them," Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill says.

We also talked with the President of Downtown Roanoke Incorporate, Tina Workman. In an e-mail, she says the security sensor is something they are thinking about adding.

She also says the trash compactor is cleaned daily and open for business 24/7, so people don't have to use it at the time.  She expects when more people get used to the idea, there will be less issues.

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