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City Crews Begin To Clean Up

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Many residential and city streets were blocked off yet again Saturday, but this time it was for a good reason. City crews began the clean up process on all emergency and secondary routes in Sioux Falls.

City officials said they have three goals for the weekend. The first is to help Xcel Energy restore power to everyone still without it. The second is to keep people safe. And the third is to get roads clear. And that’s exactly what we found them doing.

It’s a sound that echoed down and around Phillips Avenue Saturday afternoon. The sound of what’s now being called the cleanup stage in Sioux Falls. And on Saturday they were doing just that near Jennifer Reynolds home on 27th Street and Phillips Avenue.

"Luckily we cut our walnut trees, or trimmed them last spring so our back yard didn't get anything,” said Reynolds.

She said her front yard however, looked a little different.
"It looked a little bit like a war zone,” said Reynolds. “We had all of our trees covering the sidewalk. A lot of our trees were on Phillips Avenue."

Reynolds and her friend Kim Jepp were moving fallen limbs all morning, getting ready or city crews to take away the mess the storm left behind.

“(There are) some very heavily impacted areas, that are in the core part of the city we expect to do two, three passes to make sure we can account for as much debris as they can,” said Director of Public Works Mark Cotter.

Cotter said crews are now focusing on the part of Sioux Falls that was hardest hit by the spring storm.

"We will go down every street in the city, but as we've mapped the calls, really the highest concentration is in the central part of the city,” said Cotter.

It takes crews 45 minutes per block to chop, pick up, and dump what residents have piled up on the side of each street.

"This is going to take a long period of time, and ultimately, we will get to all neighborhoods in a comprehensive priority fashion and get our city cleaned up,” explained Cotter.

As Reynolds looks down her now unfamiliar street, she keeps a positive attitude. She said the worst is over with.
"Take it one step at a time and you'll get through it,” Reynolds said. “Sioux Falls will be back and ready for summer before we know it."

Cotters said over 50 crews were working to remove debris between 33rd and Russell Street, and Interstate 229 and Kiwanis Avenue. He also wanted to remind people not to park on secondary and emergency routes so crews can continue to cleanup as fast as possible.

The city has three drop off locations open and available for public use.  The first is at the City Street Department on East Chambers Street. Another is at the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds. The third is at the City Landfill on 464th Avenue and County Highway 148th Avenue.

These locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
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