09/15/11 — City is working on debris cleanup

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City is working on debris cleanup

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 15, 2011 1:46 PM

City Manager Scott Stevens said he knows Goldsboro residents are frustrated with remaining debris from Hurricane Irene more than two weeks ago as the city has been shifting its efforts from removing trees to removing yard waste.

"They're wondering where we are," he said of citizens who have piles of branches and other displaced vegetation from the storm.

The focus initially, he said, was to clear streets, but now the city has shifted its primary duty to collecting the debris that has littered yards since Aug. 20.

"That's where we're focusing our efforts," he said.

And Stevens said he is not satisfied with Public Works Director Neil Bartlett's suggestion that the cleanup should be completed by early October, vowing he hopes to bolster the efforts in the next few weeks by adding contractors now that the city will get some funding from FEMA.

"We hated to get too far ahead of ourselves in hiring contractors in case we were declared for disaster relief," he said.

Stevens, who worked in maintenance in Kinston during his career there, has been out working with crews during the past few weeks, supervising the cleanup effort as Public Works work crews have been supplementing street and sanitation crews to pick up the remaining storm debris.

Stoney Creek Park, which has many trees down, will begin receiving its facelift this week, as Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard said crews have been in the park already.

The crews have delayed their handling of the park debris to avoid damaging the park further and in hopes that the city would receive a FEMA declaration that would handle landscape debris. The city did receive that declaration and Barnard said he expects to receive details about funding and open up bids for the park cleanup today.

Barnard said the aim is to clean up the trails and the portion of the park that a 5K will run through before the race is held Sept. 24.

Barnard said that the park had not been closed, only the parking lot on Ash Street, which has been roped off since the day after the storm. Those wishing to visit the park, including the dog park which began enforcing its keypad entrance Sept. 1, are encouraged to park along the street so long as there are no "No Parking" signs.

Berkeley Park reopened Friday with the exception of the area around picnic shelter No. 1. Power was restored to the restrooms Tuesday.