Ice Storm Clean-Up Could Last Until Summer

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With every drop, the memories of winter melt away--only to reveal what are more painful for some-- the reminders of the ice storm that started it all.

"Our crews are coming through the neighborhoods everyday now, as long as we are not getting snow, we are going to stay on storm debris [clean up]," said Cathy DeShambo, from East Lansing Public Works.

East Lansing has removed ice storm debris from half of all its neighborhoods. It plans on making two passes. Like most townships and cities, residential areas come first, then the clean up will shift to parks, and public spaces.

"The concern right now is the ground is quite wet in areas," said DeShambo. "Our equipment is very heavy and if we need to get back onto the grassy areas of the parks we are going to wait on that a little bit. We really don't want to cause any damage."

No matter the name of the park or the jurisdiction, it is the same story across Mid-Michigan. Limbs have fallen. Trees are down, blocking park benches, pathways, playground equipment, you name it.

"We have a lot of work to do, a lot of chain sawing. It's probably beyond what our township staff can handle. We'll probably be hiring some local contractors to help clean up," said Jane Greenway who works at Meridian Township Parks and Land.

Meridian township hopes 150 people will volunteer for its Spring clean up on earth day, April 19th from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be a pizza party afterwards.

"We're blessed with a lot of trees but in some situations this is where we take that opportunity to get that stuff cleaned up," said Brett Kaschinske, the Lansing Director of Parks and Recreation.

Lansing has 114 parks, covering 2,000 acres. It could be June before the snow is gone, the grass is green and the last branches are removed.

MDOT said its priority right now is fixing potholes. Once those are under control it too will work on spring clean up-- both limbs and trees, and trash found in the medians.

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