A couple of recent press releases from the City of Fort Wayne concerning clean-up of the ice storm.

Mayor Henry to hire tree services, contractors to speed City’s storm clean-up
Will work for six weeks throughout Fort Wayne to pick up curbside branches

Mayor Tom Henry has instructed Parks and Recreation, Public Works and City Utilities to contract with private services for about six weeks to accelerate the tree limb clean-up process following December’s ice storm. Mayor Henry plans to have as many as 20 crews working throughout Fort Wayne to remove branches and debris left curbside.

The additional help should have most neighborhoods picked up by the end of March, if the weather cooperates.

“Our City crews have been working diligently since the storm hit Dec. 19, but because of the volume of branches and in order to get Fort Wayne cleaned up in a timely manner, we need additional help,” Mayor Henry said. “I decided the best option for our residents was to hire private contractors but manage the effort through City departments so every street will be visited through a coordinated plan.”

The City will post a map of the 52 pruning sectors to the City’s Web site. It shows the areas where City crews have already cleaned up the branches left curbside, where City crews are working currently, and the next locations to be picked up.

Under the Mayor’s plan, private contractors and City crews will each pick up about half the sectors. The length of time per sector is unknown because of the varying quantities of branches and limbs. Once the contracted crews start to work, the City will have a better sense of the amount of time it takes to clear an area.

Mayor Henry plans to use local tree services and general contractors. The City also is working with supervised crews from Community Corrections to go ahead of some City crews to pull out brush in front of the chipper crews. The City has already been contact with Fort Wayne-area contractors.

“This is an opportunity to use local companies and keeps the spending here with people who live and work in Fort Wayne,” he said. “The extra crews also ensure that our City departments continue to offer the services our taxpayers expect such as pothole repair and getting our parks ready for spring recreation.”

The private contractors may cost between $300,000 and $500,000. The City will pay for it using cash reserves and $35,000 of CEDIT funds previously allocated from City Council members, but also plans to ask the Allen County Solid Waste District for funding help.

“We always have to balance the need for City services and expenditures with our resources. Our cash reserves are designed for emergencies, and this is definitely an unexpected and unanticipated incident that demands the City’s response,” Mayor Henry said. “We will certainly look at any funding source, but it’s nice to know we have the money on hand to cover such events.”

Fort Wayne residents need to have all tree limbs and branches at the curb by Friday, Jan. 9, to ensure all branches are ready for pick-up when the crews come through.

People no longer need to call 311 to report branches in their parkstrip. To help expedite the curbside pick-up, the City offers the following recommendations when possible:

  • Place branches perpendicular, not parallel, to the street
  • Put the branches in multiple small piles instead of a single, large pile
  • Trim long branches into smaller pieces
  • Keep the branches from extending into the street
  • There will only be one curbside branch collection per street.

The City will keep the drop-off collection sites for branches and limbs, where they will later be mulched, open through the end of January. They are:

  • Shoaff Park by Conklin Pavilion (Christmas tree drop-off site) during park hours
  • Tillman Park Ball Field parking lot off Hanna Street during park hours
  • McMillen Park in pool parking lot (Christmas tree drop-off site) during park hours
  • Foellinger Theater / Lincolndale lot in Franke Park – back parking lot southwest corner (Christmas tree drop-off site) during park hours
  • Foster Park West in the soccer field parking lot (Christmas tree drop-off site) during park hours
  • Biosolids Compost Facility, 6210 Lake Ave., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday, branch drop-off fees waived
  • National Serv-all Compost Site, 6231 MacBeth Road, 7 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, and 8 AM to Noon on Saturday, branch drop-off fees waived through Jan. 17.

 
          

A second press release seeking your stories:

Mayor Henry seeks stories from the storm
Mayor Looks for Heart Warming Stories of Those Who Went the Extra Mile to Help During the Ice Storm

During the December ice storm that left thousands of Fort Wayne residents without power, some for many days, Mayor Tom Henry continued to ask citizens to check on their neighbors to help ensure no one was in danger.

During and the since the storm, Mayor Henry says he hears story after story of people who made big efforts to reach out to friends, family and even strangers. “People offered help and hope to individuals and families who were cold, tired, and hungry,” said Mayor Henry. “It’s these stories that make me proud to be part of this community.”

Saying he would like to acknowledge and possibly publicly recognize many of those who went to great lengths to help others, Mayor Henry asked citizens to send him a note on the City’s website to tell the stories they know, where warm hearted individuals made a difficult situation a little more bearable for others.

Submissions can be made until February 2 on the City’s website. Mayor Henry would like to thank all of those who made such an effort and helped avoid a terrible storm becoming a tragedy. 

And a third and final release:

Residents need to have tree limbs to curb by Friday
Multiple small piles faster, easier for chipper crews than single large pile

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is asking Fort Wayne residents to have all tree limbs and branches at the curb by Friday, Jan. 9, as crews continue to go through each city street collecting branches left in the parkstrip or right of way.

“The amounts of branches and limbs across the city are dramatic. Our crews are working diligently to clean up our city, but we need a deadline to have branches curbside,” Mayor Henry said. “This will help ensure that once the crew has gone down your street, we know they have collected all the limbs and debris, and we don’t have to worry about people bringing branches to the curb after the trucks have gone by.”

There will only be one curbside branch collection per street, but the branch drop-off sites remain open.

Parks and Recreation Department staff has traveled all 1,200 miles of City streets to assess the situation, neighborhood by neighborhood. “The damage of the ice storm has affected every Fort Wayne neighborhood,” said Parks Director Al Moll. “We have branch piles to collect on most every street during this very labor intensive process, but we continue to work diligently with the assistance of Parks employees and crews from Public Works and City Utilities.”

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