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Erik Burgess, Published April 22 2013

Fargo moves Spring Cleanup Week to September

FARGO – Spring cleaning here this year will become fall cleaning.

With staff busy fighting a late-season flood, city commissioners unanimously decided Monday to move annual spring Cleanup Week to Sept. 23-27.

Cleanup Week had been scheduled May 6-10.

Coinciding with the annual event of spring cleaning, Cleanup Week is when the city allows residents to dispose of just about anything on the curb free of charge.

The recommended schedule change came from Bruce Grubb, the city’s enterprise director, Terry Ludlum, solid waste utility director, and Ben Dow, public works director.

Grubb told commissioners in a special flood-related meeting Monday night that the city’s public works and solid waste staff are stretched thin getting ready for Red River flooding, and the next time their schedules mesh is in late September.

The situation is made worse by the historically late-cresting flood, he said, which pushes back flood cleanup and keeps staff tied up later into the summer.

“Oddly enough, the last full week of September seemed to kind of be the sweet spot for everybody,” Grubb said. “It’s atypical for the community, but it might be good for the community to get a break over the summer after the flood cleanup occurs.”

Grubb said there still will be flood-related cleanup, such as picking up used sandbags. He said staff also would be prepared for other cleanup associated with springtime, like students moving into or out of new homes and apartments.

“Cleanup Week is a big deal,” Commissioner Mike Williams said Monday night. “It’s Earth Day today, and we get a lot of stuff reused on Cleanup Week, but moving it till September is a good idea.”

Cleanup Week usually is a metrowide event, and West Fargo City Commissioner Mark Wentz said West Fargo intends to keep it that way.

“We’re just going to follow whatever schedule they (Fargo) go by,” Wentz said Monday night. “It makes sense to work with them and do it at the same time.”

Barry Johnson, West Fargo’s director of public works, said scheduling it late in the fall made sense to him and works “perfect” for West Fargo.

“Everybody will be done with the lakes season, and everybody will be home” by late September, he said.

“Just hope it isn’t snowing,” he added, with a laugh.

Chad Martin, Moorhead’s director of operations, said the Moorhead City Council would discuss delaying Cleanup Week at Monday night’s meeting. A Moorhead council member was not available for comment after the meeting.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518