Reporting Chris Simon
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been two weeks since a pair of violent storms brought down thousands of tree limbs and, in many cases, entire trees.
At the corner of 42nd Avenue East near Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis, residents are trying to be understanding, but are beginning to lose patience with both the blight and danger the downed trees are causing.
Resident Kim Tier, out watering his garden, said he understands how the city was overwhelmed but still wishes there had been a swifter response in his neighborhood.
“For about five days we had to drive all the way around our neighborhood to get home. We could not even get through the streets because they wouldn’t take the trees out of the middle of the road,” Tier said.
More than a few Minneapolis neighborhoods remain littered with the remnants of rotting trees — now fire hazards — as well as brown and obstructing sidewalks and streets. Some trees even remain partially rooted in the ground, and the sidewalk has been turned up around them.
With the Fourth of July holiday now over, city officials promise tree debris collection will pick up in earnest. Just two blocks away from Tier, a four-person crew worked feverishly to clear one of the Avenues.
“We are using the front loader to get all of the debris up into the dump truck,” said one crew member. “We are working the avenues first then the streets.”
The city set July 12 as the date tree removal should be completed.
Recalling the past two weeks of inconvenience, Tier said his neighbors cannot wait.
“Every side walk has branches on them. You can’t walk your dog. You have to walk around. It’s kind of a hassle”, he says.
Dawn Sommers with the City of Minneapolis wants residents to know they are working as fast as they can.
“More than 75 Minneapolis Park Board Forestry crew members cleared approximately 2,000 trees and hauled approximately 750 semi truckloads of storm damage debris between June 22 and June 30,” Sommers said. “While tree trunks and limbs are being removed as quickly as possible, stumps and roots remain and will be removed at a later date. As trees are cut, trunks and large limbs are being placed alongside the roads for later pickup.”
So for a few, the blight caused by dead trees will be slowly replaced by the drone of earthmoving machines and heavy trucks the city hopes will make up for lost time.
Should you have an unreported tree blocking the sidewalk or street, call the city at 612-313-7710.