116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Disposing of the tree debris that has buried much of Cedar Rapids since last week's destructive derecho storm likely will take 'until winter,” according to a city official, and much of it will be made into mulch.
Dave Roe, Cedar Rapids' interim golf operations manager, and other city workers helped unload truckload after truckload of debris over the weekend at a public collection site at F Avenue and First Street NW.
After opening Saturday, the massive pile of branches, sticks and leaves at the site was the size of two Olympic-sized pools by Sunday morning.
Anyone who is able can drop off debris from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents can bring tree debris there, but not household garbage, such as shingles and siding.
The arrival of pickups and trailers carrying debris was near constant over the weekend. Roe estimated residents and volunteers dropped off 1,000 loads Saturday, and he expects it will be months until everything is collected.
'The curbs are filling so fast,” Roe said. 'It will take at least that much time to get it all cleaned up.”
Workers already have started chipping up some of the wood, city spokeswoman Emily Breen said. Roe said much of it will be made into mulch.
Half of the city's tree canopy was destroyed by the Aug. 10 storm, which had wind forces equivalent to a hurricane. As recovery has begun, people have pushed walls of debris to their curbs - many of those walls now are several feet tall.
City crews still were working Monday to make all Cedar Rapids streets passable, which means having at least one car's width of travel space.
'We still have some roads blocked due to downed power lines, and continue to work with Alliant Energy on identifying these roads and clearing power lines,” Breen said.
The city's next goal will be helping to clear all tree debris from curbs and streets to one of four collection sites.
Residents do not have to hire contractors to haul away their tree debris, Breen said.
'Residents just need to move debris to the curb and we will pick it up - regardless of whether it's a city tree or private tree,” she said. 'Many residents are hiring contractors to assist with getting tree debris off homes. (They) do not need to pay their contractor to haul it off, they just need to get it to the curb.”
As residents and city workers dispose of those piles, curbs likely will refill, Roe said, and many trees that were damaged but left standing will need to be removed.
As a steady line of trucks filed into the northwest Cedar Rapids site Sunday, local residents backed up full pickup beds and tractor trailers. Dillon Kelley, a postal worker who lives in the Madison neighborhood, shoved a leafy pile off a trailer.
'It's seen better days,” he said of his house. 'We're staying busy.”
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Linn County debris sites
Linn County's website notes that these sites are for organic storm debris only.
The locations are for self-haul, drop-off only, and no staff will be available to help unload debris.
Morgan Creek County Park: Enter from E Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
Mount Vernon Secondary Road Shop: 788 Cedar River Road, Mount Vernon, 6 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Whittier Secondary Road Shop: 721 County Home Road, Springville, 6 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Dows Farm: Enter off Mount Vernon Road across from the Lighthouse and Edith Lucille's, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. weekdays.