PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been just over a week since a tornado-producing storm ripped through Kent County. On Friday, the cleanup process continued for many residents.
Dave, a Plainfield Township resident who declined to give his last name, is no stranger to storm damage.
“July 7th, 1991, the big storm came through, and it was 19 trailer loads in my yard,” he said. “And then Memorial Day weekend in 1998. That was maybe 15 trailer loads.”
After another round of severe weather swept through the area Aug. 24, he found himself once again picking up what was left behind.
“Now I’m working on maybe six trailer loads,” he said. “But the difference is I’m not 34 anymore.”
He is just one of the many people who lined up Friday at Versluis Park to drop off storm debris, part of a cleanup process that has become lengthy for some.
“Day to day working on it, borrowed my neighbor’s trailer,” Todd Bowman, of Plainfield Township, said. “I’m trying to get the bulk of it out of there.”
The debris that’s collected will be taken to a facility and chipped there.
Justin Douma with the Plainfield Township Water Department has been assisting at the Versluis Park drop-off site. He said the location has been busy all week.
“Every morning when we’d get here, this entire parking lot was full,” Douma said. “So we’d get here and we’d push everything into a pile. And then dumpsters come in, trucks, load everything out. And then we’d repeat the same thing the next day.”
Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator Matt Groesser said damage assessment and debris management are being done in phases.
Phase one included clearing the roads so public safety agencies could use them, as well as restoring power.
Now, efforts are in phase two.
“Making sure we have a complete picture on the homes that were damaged, but then also trying to get an idea on what debris is left over,” Groesser explained. “And so this is the phase with debris management that takes more time.”
Groesser said volunteers have been requested through the state to assist. The volunteers, who may arrive next week, will target the communities hit by the tornado.
But the damage is widespread, according to Groesser.
“There was a straight-line wind event also that affected five to six other townships and cities,” he said.
Groesser said residents of those areas should contact 211 for help.
“If we have availability of volunteer resources, we can hopefully get them over there to provide assistance also,” Groesser said.
Any homeowner who is having trouble moving debris, especially the elderly or those with disabilities, is also encouraged to contact 211.
The Versluis Park drop-off location will remain open through Sept. 5. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The Alpine Township location, located at 5580 Alpine Ave. in Comstock Park, was expected to close Friday, but it has extended its hours through the weekend weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday, the drop-off site will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To use the resources, you must be a resident of Plainfield Township or Alpine Township.