Storm cleanup: When is the city responsible?

Grand Rapids
Crews work to clear tree debris from Union near Fulton Street SE.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The cleanup from Friday’s deadly storms is leading to long hours for Grand Rapids workers and some confusion for residents.

“There’s still some areas in the extreme southeast portion of this city that we’re still focused on, but we will get to you eventually,” city manager Greg Sundstrom said during Tuesday morning’s city commission meeting.

Grand Rapids city crews have been working nonstop since Friday to clean up some of the badly damaged trees left behind by the storms.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Photos and video of July 7, 2017 storm damage

One team was focused Tuesday on clearing debris out of the street on Union near Fulton Street SE.

Not all trees are the city’s responsibility. Public services director James Hurt says it all depends where the tree was growing before the storm.

“[If] it’s in the location between the sidewalk and the curb, that’s a public street tree. That’s the city’s responsibility. So if it falls out on the street, we’ll take care of it. If it falls into a property owner, so on private property, we’ll work with that property owner but we’ll take care of it because it’s really a public tree,” said Hurt.

If a private tree falls onto a street, the city will take care of the debris in the street and work with the homeowner to take care of what’s on their property, according to Hurt.

Grand Rapids residents can report storm damage to the city by calling 311.

The city’s yard waste drop-off site at 2001 Butterworth St. SW will be open until 8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. While dropping off yard waste is free, it’s only for Grand Rapids residents, who will need to show their ID.

In Hudsonville, the city is asking residents to place only tree limbs and branches at the curb, with the thick ends towards the street.

In Wyoming, yard waste can be dropped off at the city’s yard waste site at 2660 Burlingame Ave. SW during 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. through Saturday, July 15. The city will also be picking up debris, which must be stacked neatly between the curb and sidewalk. Debris should be ready for pickup by July 17.

Reports of trees blocking roadways or downed power lines can be made to 616.530.7300 ext. 1.