Brown patches of dead grass and dirt dot the properties in the Cornell Woods neighborhood in Meridian Township. Each is a marker of a winter that's finally come to an end -- an area where debris from a December ice storm sat for months.
For residents, it's a welcome sign that a now-infamous winter is finally behind them.
"It's nice to be able to see my neighbor's grass again and to have some assurance that this winter is behind us," said Lisa Parker. "It's just good to be summer."
Just days before June, Meridian Township has finished picking up the residue that has sat in yards since December. Three crews -- two hired contractors -- passed through the township from north to south picking up so much debris, it had to be taken to three different parks.
Machinery used in the process scarred front yards throughout the township, but residents didn't seem to mind Friday.
"I'm appreciative that they actually came out and did it as a favor for everybody because that would have cost me quite a bit of money to have it hauled away," said April Mollhagen. "I think they did a good job considering the amount of stuff that was around all over the place. I'm just glad they finally got here."
Meridian didn't start its debris collection until the middle of April, due to the severity of the winter, according to Director of Public Works Raymond Severy.
"It's kind of an unprecedented storm," he said. "Then right after that, we had the big snow storm, which buried everything and then we had a cold winter, this winter was colder than normal, so everything froze in."
The collection comes at a cost though. Severy estimates the cleanup will take at least a $220,000 bite out of the township's wallet.
That money could have been used to resurface local roads, Severy said, and shore up the township's parking lot.
"It's definitely going to have an impact on things we could have done," he said. "We were hoping to do a little more of that than we'll be able to."
The debris that was collected will be made into wood chips. All remaining debris that was missed or "the small stuff," as Severy put it, can be dropped for free at near the intersection off Jolly Oak Rd. (see map).