By Sara Konkel
Meridian Times staff writer
After a winter of severe ice storms and bitter cold, Meridian Township Board members were left to pick up the pieces.
The township plans to launch a curbside brush and limb pick-up program April 14 to clear debris from the ice storm that struck Meridian Township from Dec. 21 to Jan. 2, township Manager Frank Walsh said. The storm left some residents out of power for 11 days.
“Instead of just leaving it up to every homeowner to fend for themselves, the township board decided that they would implement a program on this one-time basis because of the state of emergency that was declared by the township,” Walsh said.
Meridian Township is asking residents who are interested in having debris removed for free to drag the sticks and brush to the sidewalk or the edge of the street to be picked up. Each street will be visited only once.
Brush and limbs bigger than eight inches in diameter and six feet in length will not be accepted.
All brush from roads in Meridian Township north of Grand River Avenue will be collected starting April 14. All brush laid out on the south side will be collected starting May 5. The cleanup project is expected to be finished by the end of May.
Michigan Demolition and Redwood Landscaping are the wood-chipping companies the township hired to collect the debris.
Meridian Township resident Zack Fletcher said this project is a weight lifted off his chest because he feared that the piles of debris would kill his grass.
“My backyard is full of broken tree branches and I’d love to have a bonfire with them but my complex doesn’t allow it,” he said. “I’m glad they’re taking them because I don’t know what else I’d do to get rid of them. I’m not paying for it.”
Other residents were not interested in taking part in the cleanup project.
“It doesn’t make a huge difference to me if they clear it,” Derek Willy said. “I actually kind of like having all of it around. I can put it in a pile and burn in my wood-burning stove come winter.”
Another concern Willy had was that the fallen branches in his yard were too big to be picked up.
“The storm knocked more than just brush down in my yard,” he said. “There are full trees down back there. They’re not going to take those.”