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City of Cloquet: Spring cleaning for the great outdoors

The snow may have finally melted, exposing the effects of December’s devastating storms. The heavy snow left some young trees bowing like monks while older trees fell or dropped limbs that were overwhelmed by the weight of the wet snow. The freeze that followed froze many in the same position much of the winter. Strong winds this spring are finishing the damage in some cases; people armed with saws and clippers are doing the rest.

In an effort to help citizens who are now cleaning up the mess, the city of Cloquet is arranging for free pickup of fallen trees, branches and brush, hopefully later this month, city administrator Tim Peterson told the city council during Tuesday’s meeting.

The city will likely be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the costs of the cleanup because of the state of emergency approved by Gov. Tim Walz after the storms Dec. 13-15.

Peterson told councilors the city will be hiring a contractor to go street by street to pick up the branches and cut-up trees. The public works department hopes to have a contract to the council by its May 16 meeting. Leaves will not be part of the pickup, he said.

For those who don’t want to wait, the city’s brush and leaf disposal site at the public works garage, 410 Armory Road, is now open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Fridays. Additionally, people can haul brush and branches (under 4 inches in diameter) to the Carlton County Transfer Station for a fee. Leaves and grass clippings are accepted at no charge.

Fire danger is currently very high, so Peterson reminded people not to get rid of yard waste by burning it for now.

Cloquet riverfront cleanup

The third annual Cloquet riverside cleanup is set for 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 17. Meet at the Dunlap Island Park shelter at 4 p.m. to get your group “cleanup zone” along the riverfront. After the cleanup, volunteers will be served B&B brats and hamburgers 5-6 p.m. at the Dunlap Island shelter. The cleanup is organized and sponsored by the city of Cloquet and Boldt Construction, which is paying for the food. The first 100 people to volunteer will also receive a free T-shirt.

Cloquet community development director Holly Hansen said it’s important work.

“We have a lot of material that accumulates along the riverfront over the winter, especially plastics,” Hansen said. Volunteers of all ages are welcome.

“We can put you to work,” she said.

In other matters Tuesday, the council heard from a group of people hoping to organize and get donations for a communitywide National Night Out event on Aug. 1.

They also heard updates about the Cloquet Public Library from board member Don Walsh and recent Cloquet Area Fire District news from CAFD chief Jesse Buhs. CAFD had about 3,300 fire and ambulance calls in 2022. Eighty percent of those were ambulance runs.