Spring cleaning efforts delayed by lack of spring weather
The snow is disappearing in Grand Forks but cleaning up the layer of trash and sand revealed by its absence has been delayed by cold weather. It will take the efforts of city crews and volunteers to tackle the litter in the annual spring cleanup ...
The snow is disappearing in Grand Forks but cleaning up the layer of trash and sand revealed by its absence has been delayed by cold weather.
It will take the efforts of city crews and volunteers to tackle the litter in the annual spring cleanup -- a project that could last until the end of May.
"We were all done with cleanup in March this time last year," said Street Superintendent Mark Aubol. Temperatures had already spiked into the 70s by St. Patrick's Day in 2012, allowing for an early cleanup.
This year seems to be the opposite with below-average temperatures delaying the three-to-four-week cleaning process from kicking into high gear.
While most of the city's snow is gone, what's hanging around is preventing projects such as street sweeping from taking place in some areas.
Aubol said snow and ice in gutters is a problem for the sweepers, and some residents may not see their streets swept until temperatures remain above the freezing at night -- the time when most of the cleaning takes place.
Low temperatures also are causing trouble for roads with potholes. Patches placed in the potholes have a tendency to come loose in cold weather.
"They can get knocked out really quick," Aubol said. When the patches come loose and crumble, the road is left with a messy appearance and more debris for the sweepers to pick up.
Messy streets and cold pavement in turn cause delays for the department's efforts to repaint crosswalks and other road lines. The paint is scraped off during the winter months by snowplows and sand deposited on the road by street crews, Aubol said.
"We'll get the painting in as soon as we can," he said. "I just need clean streets and the sun to shine."
The streets aren't the only areas of town in need of cleaning. Cigarette butts, wrappers and other trash litter city sidewalks.
Aubol said business owners are responsible for keeping the sidewalks around their location clean, but city crews will clear sidewalks near major thoroughfares.
City officials say the popular UND Big Event held April 27 was a great start to the spring cleanup, but there is more left to do. The Big Event sent hundreds of UND students out into the community to complete service projects, including litter pickup.
One of the remaining areas is the Greater Grand Forks Greenway. Greenway Specialist Kim Greendahl said a volunteer cleanup will be held when the Red River's floodwaters recede.
"It's basic work but it really needs to be done," she said.
A similar cleanup effort has been organized in past years and has seen a healthy turnout, according to Greendahl.
"People just seem to want to come down and help out," she said.
Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1108; or send email to email@example.com .