GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Two Grand Rapids citizens who were sick of looking at a large, blue Dumpster that had gotten stuck in the middle of the Grand River decided to take matters into their own hands on Monday afternoon.
Last week, Grand Rapids city officials told 24 Hour News 8 that the Dumpster, which weighs 15,000 pounds when filled with water, could not yet be removed from the Grand because the current was too fast and the water level was too high. The Dumpster had gotten stuck in the river during the flooding in April after it floated downstream from Riverside Park.
But Monday, Keith Brown and Wade Baumgardner waded out to the Dumpster, which sat in the river near the Bridge Street Bridge, and started to bail out the water inside.
Just as they thought it would, the dumpster began to float as it was emptied.
While Brown and Baumgardner, who are familiar with the river and have removed scrap metal from it before, weren't worried about what would happen as they started to bail out the Dumpster, they admitted they didn't know exactly what would happen.
"It's like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel," Baumgardner said. "You don't know what to expect."
Brown said the situation was "sketchy" at first.
"We didn't know if that thing was going to go tip over so we had to hope it would balance," Brown said. "So he got on one side and I got on the other. We both hung on."
The men managed to steer the Dumpster to the river's shore in front of Ah-Nab-Awen Park. Once it was onshore, a tow truck from the company that owns the Dumpster came to retrieve it.
For both men, getting the Dumpster out of the river was as much of a matter of civic pride as it was an adventure.
It kind makes our city look like trash," Baumgardner said. "And we don't want our city to look like trash to outsiders."
24 Hour News 8 contacted city officials for comment on Brown and Baumgardner's actions, but as of early Monday evening, they had not responded.
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