116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — More than 10 months after last summer’s derecho pummeled Cedar Rapids with hurricane-force winds, downing most of the city’s tree canopy, the city announced it has finished picking up about 4 million cubic yards of tree debris.
That’s enough debris to fill the University of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium — to the brim — more than six times.
Crews wrapped up free curbside tree debris pickup in the southeast quadrant late last week, according to a city news release Wednesday.
This includes curbside collection, most tree removals in the public right of way, the removal of uprooted stumps and root balls and a pickup through alleys.
Crews continue to grind down right-of-way stumps and backfill holes left behind from the removal of large root balls.
Additionally, debris and mulch haul sites are in the process of being cleaned and restored. A contractor is removing the mulch and will explore methods of reuse or recycling. Fresh seeding will occur at the haul sites this fall.
The city advises remaining tree debris be taken to the Linn County Solid Waste Agency, 2250 A St. SW, which accepts debris year-round. Tree debris will not be permitted to stay at the curb in the long term.
Property owners without the means to remove tree debris can contact Waypoint at (319) 366-7999 for help connecting residents with available community services and volunteers.
The city eventually will set a deadline for the removal of debris, after which property owners will be subject to the city’s nuisance abatement process.
The ReLeaf initiative, Cedar Rapids’ partnership with local nonprofit Trees Forever to replenish the tree canopy lost in the storm, is underway in public parks and right of ways.
Redmond Park and Cleveland Park have been fully replanted with new trees, with more plantings planned or underway at Noelridge, Cherry Hill and Hughes Parks.
The city has committed to plant about 2,800 trees within the next three years through the Growing Futures initiative, a partnership with Trees Forever that allows area teenagers to help plant and grow trees along the city right of ways while learning life skills.
Residents also may plant new trees in the right of way. The city has waived permit fees for residents who wish to grind their own right-of-way stump and plant a tree. More information is available at cedar-rapids.org/residents/parks_and_recreation/replacing_street_trees.php.
Other efforts still underway to clean up remaining tree debris include:
Right-of-way stump grinding
Stump removal work will continue throughout the summer and into fall as part of a multiyear process, with over 8,000 stumps to be ground.
Stumps are removed by an initial crew, then a second crew completes cleanup and fill within seven to 10 days.
The city asks that residents remove rocks, bricks and stone planters from around the stumps, as well as any ornamental plantings that the resident wants to keep.
Street tree assessments
Some trees will continue to be assessed for their long-term ability to survive as the city seeks to save as many trees as possible.
If trees are identified as having structural damage or if they pose safety concerns, they will be removed.
The removal of hazardous limbs is complete, but pruning will continue on branches that need more trimming to support the tree’s health.
Park cleanup and tree removals are complete in improved areas.
This summer, city staff will continue to work on removing stumps in parks and golf courses.
The next priority for cleanup will be timber and natural areas, when workers are able to access them.
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