LOUISVILLE, Ky. (COURIER-JOURNAL) -- After last year’s Louisville Zombie Walk resulted in a nightmarish garbage mess along Bardstown Road, new plans are in place for a cleanup after this year's scheduled walk Saturday.
With a "world record" 40,000 participants expected at this year's event -- up from an estimated 30,000 last year -- walk organizers have hired a private company to handle the cleanup, instead of leaving it mostly up to the city, according to Harold Adams, a spokesman for Metro Public Works.
During the walk, participants dressed up and made up to resemble the "undead," parade along Bardstown Road. The free walk starts at 8:29 p.m. at Eastern Parkway or Mid City Mall.
Last year, organizers were required to pay $1,980 -- half of the city's $3,960 cleanup costs after the event. This time, "as long as the cleanup is done properly, the city will not charge a cleanup fee," Adams said in an email Thursday. Also, starting this year, organizers of all events are required to file a cleanup plan to be reviewed ahead of time by the Solid Waste Division of Public Works, Adams said. Zombie Walk organizers had filed a plan that specified it was hiring the cleanup company, he said.
That was good news for the Highland Commerce Guild, which represents businesses and others in the Highlands. "We like the Zombie walk and that it attracts so much activity to the Highlands," said Larry Rother with Coffee News, the guild's president. But the guild wants the area to be clean, and "amazingly people did come down the street and clean it all up the next morning," he said. Some businesses reportedly had to do some clean up on their own, but "somehow it did get cleanup up properly last year, he said. This year, "I'm glad the city is on top of it," he said.
Chief walk organizer Lyndi Lou, an artist, said last year that volunteers have helped clean up after the event in past years, but that the volume of litter was higher than usual last time. She acknowledged the cleanup plan "wasn't what it needed to be" and said the organizers would take full responsibility. Organizers couldn't immediately be reached for comment Thursday, but a post on the Louisville Zombie Walk Facebook page, which says the event is presented by The Devil's Attic, reads: "Cleanup is well taken care of." Otherwise, everyone was encouraged to "get ZOMBIFIED."
The mess left last year drew criticism from some Highlands residents and business owners, and Mayor Greg Fischer's office had warned organizers that the city might have to reconsider whether the annual walk could be held if cleanup problems were not addressed. Carrie Martin, a manager at the Back Door bar at the Mid City Mall, had described the Bardstown Road area as a "wreck" and a "nightmare" because of the garbage last year, comparing it to Central Avenue near Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby.