GREEN RIVER — Damage from hurricane-force winds that hit Green River on Monday night and Tuesday is likely in the millions of dollars and could take up to six months to completely clean up, according to the city.
Green River officials met Thursday afternoon to discuss the damage and cleanup plans. A resolution on an emergency declaration will be brought before the City Council for approval at Tuesday's regular meeting. Green River will also need county and state support in order to pursue an emergency declaration, a press release stated.
The city continues work on damages assessments but is confident that the total will be in the millions, according to Steve Core, communications administrator for the city. Damage estimates are needed for both public and private property. Residents who have pictures of their damages are being asked to email those pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the wind and snowstorm, hundreds of trees were damaged and more than 6,000 residents were without power — some for days.
At Riverview Cemetery, 35 trees were toppled by the storm, according to Parks and Recreation Director Brad Raney. Of those, 25 were tall pine trees. Progress is being made with cleanup there, and it is hoped that cemetery roads will be cleared by early next week, Core said. Staff from multiple departments will be working in the cemetery during the weekend.
At Evers Park, three large pine trees fell, and the wind rolled back the metal roof of the gazebo at the park. A local resident has volunteered to cut up the trees that fell there. People who want to use the trees for firewood can contact Raney at 307-872-6147. City officials do not want people to go and cut up any trees on public property without contacting Raney first.
Core said private property owners are responsible for debris on their property. The city will not pick up any that is placed on the street. Through the help and supervision of the Sweetewater County Sheriff's Office, inmates are available for cleanup work, so people who need help removing debris can contact the department.
The city encourages resident to take trees, limbs and stumps to the rodeo grounds parking lot area. People are not allowed to dump anything else at the site including trash bags or leaves and grass. Because of increased traffic along East Teton Blvd. as residents take debris to the rodeo grounds, signs will be placed on either side of the parking lot warning residents to slow down. The area is being monitored.
The city is working on a plan to remove all debris from the streets. One concern is the amount of small debris that the street sweeper can't pick up. That debris could end up in the storm drain system after a strong rain which could clog the system, Core said. The city plans to use local contractors with heavy equipment in several cleanup areas.
Expedition Academy students planned to go out Friday to help with the cleanup, most likely at Expedition Island. One tree fell on the island, and the park was full of branches. The city expressed their appreciation to the students for their help.
Trout Unlimited contacted Green River about using fallen trees and their root balls for a river stabilization project at Scott's Bottom. Trout Unlimited has grant money for the project. The group would hire local contractors to take the trees and root balls to an area near the FMC barn. Each tree needs to be 15 feet long plus the root ball. Trout Unlimited hopes to get up to 100 trees. Core said the city feels the project would be a good use of the trees.