116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct time for the Northwest Neighborhood cleanup.
Eight months after the August derecho swept through Eastern Iowa, communities are wrapping up tree debris cleanup for residents.
Cedar Rapids and Linn County have upcoming opportunities to get rid of leftover tree debris from last summer’s storm.
Marion has finished curbside pickup, but residents still have some options to rid of debris.
Cedar Rapids residents have until Monday, April 19, to move tree debris to the curb for free pickup. After Monday, tree debris should not be placed at the curb.
Crews cannot predict how long it will take to pick up the tree debris because the amount of debris remaining on private property is unknown.
Pickup crews will begin pickup in the southwest quadrant. The city expects it will take about four to five weeks to reach all neighborhoods.
A map on the city’s website — cedar-rapids.org — will show where crews are working and areas that have been completed.
During tree debris collection, crews will:
- Remove curbside piles and rake up debris in the right of way.
- Remove root balls and stumps torn out of the ground and backfill large holes.
- Pick up tree debris in alleys.
- Right of way stumps will be ground down at a later date.
Residents are encouraged to use their Yardy carts for smaller piles of twigs and branches that can fit in the cart and keep sidewalks clear of debris.
Residents should not deposit tree debris on city property, such as empty lots and parks, as it is considered illegal dumping and is against municipal code.
If residents have tree debris remaining after curbside pickup, they may take it to the Linn County Solid Waste Agency, 2250 A St. SW. Drop-off fees and hours of operation are at solidwasteagency.org/compost-yard-waste.
Street tree removals
Crews have removed about 12,000 damaged trees along city streets and from city parks. They are working throughout the city independently of the crews removing curbside debris piles.
Removal of damaged trees along streets should wrap up in three to four weeks.
Nonorganic debris collection completed
The curbside collection of nonorganic debris has ended, and residents should not place this debris — lumber, shingles, fences, etc. — at the curb.
Residents looking to dispose of large items can arrange for pickup through the city’s bulky item collection program by calling (319) 286-5897 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Costs vary, based on the size and weight of the materials.
Residents also take nonorganic debris to the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency (solidwasteagency.org/garbage).
Right of way permits
Residents are required to get permits for work being done in the right of way such as driveways, sidewalk and tree planting. Visit cityofcr.com/rightofwaypermits for more information.
Residents who wish to help with derecho-related cleanup efforts have a variety of opportunities, including at city parks, city golf courses and Ushers Ferry Historic Village.
Neighborhood cleanups scheduled for this Saturday are:
- 9 to noon, Bever Park Neighborhood (meet at Bever Park)
- 10 a.m. to noon., Northwest Neighborhood (meet at Ellis Boulevard and G Avenue NW)
- 1 to 3 p.m., Cleveland Area Neighborhood (meet at Cleveland Park)
Neighborhood cleanups on April 24 are:
- 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Oak Hill Jackson Neighborhood (meet at community garden, Sixth Street and 10th Avenue SW)
- 9 to 11 a.m., Westdale Neighborhood (meet at either Delaney Park or Westdale Court Apartments main office)
For more details on these opportunities, including contact information to get involved, visit the city’s Municipal Volunteer Program webpage: cedar-rapids.org/discover_cedar_rapids/municipal_volunteer_program/index.php
Ceres Environmental Services, the county’s contractor, will return to collect debris on April 26 in unincorporated parts of the county.
The company, however, is only picking up tree debris that was placed in right of way areas by the Nov. 9, 2020, deadline. Tree debris placed in the right of way after that deadline is the responsibility of the property owner.
The county will open a self-haul location at the Wickiup Hill Learning Area, 10260 Morris Rd. near Toddville.
The dump site is only for tree and other vegetative debris from unincorporated Linn County. Haulers must preregister by calling (319) 892-6000 or going to linncounty.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2233.
The county will close the dump site once it reaches capacity, which is expected to take three weeks, the release said.
The other option for unincorporated county residents is open burning. Burning permits can be obtained online or by phone at the same phone number and website noted above.
People who live within a half-mile of Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha — where open burning typically is not allowed — can burn debris, with no fee, but also need to obtain permits.
In Marion, contractors are no longer collecting derecho tree debris.
If residents need debris picked up, they can call the city’s Public Services Department for a special pickup at (319) 377-6367.
Brush collections are scheduled for every Tuesday. Residents must prepay before the collection. The cost is $40 for every 15 minutes of service, according to the city’s website.
Residents also can self-haul debris to the city yard waste site, 195 35th St. The weekday hours are 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and until 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays. Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
City Manager Lon Pluckhahn said residents with “unique situations” should talk to the Public Services Department at the number provided above.