Lansing Offering Help with Ice Storm Debris Removal on Private Property

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With several cities and townships across Mid-Michigan hauling away debris from December's ice storm, the catch is that residents have to get it to the curb first.

But for those unable to do that, the City of Lansing is offering assistance with debris removal on private property for those who live in qualified areas of the city.

Lansing has about $500,000 worth of federal grant money in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to pay for the debris removal, which is why the assistance is only available to those who live within designated CDBG areas of the city.

For residents like Karen Carter, the program is a welcome help after spending winter struggling to figure out how to clean up her yard.

"I don't use an electric saw, I only have a hand saw and that would take even longer so I thought about just trying to break (the debris) up with my hands but that might take a couple weeks," she said.

"It's a good program, it helps out, even if I could do it myself, there's people out there who are handicapped or seniors, other people who just can't do it."

Council member Carol Wood said those who are interested in taking advantage of the assistance must apply by 5pm on April 21st through the city's Planning and Neighborhood Development Department.

"We have a number of people out there helping neighbors do this but then we have people out there who don't know their neighbors, don't know how to get assistance and so this is a way to help through that process," Wood said.

A liability waiver from the property owner will be required for the work crew to enter the property.

Homeowners can determine if they're eligible by checking the CDBG Eligibility Map at the link on the right of the page.

While Carter is grateful the program is available to assist her, as someone who has severe vision impairments, she was less than thrilled with trying to navigate the online map to determine if she lived in an eligible area.

"No matter how big I magnified it, you couldn't even read it," Carter said. "I couldn't even read the names of the streets and I had sighted people say they couldn't even read it so I don't know how anybody could figure it out."

Wood said there's a good chance most people will qualify because a majority of the city lies in the designated area. But for those who still don't the Lansing Neighborhood Council, a private organization, is also taking calls and requests using their own private funds and volunteers to assist with clean-up efforts.

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