IRONWOOD — Ironwood residents lined up for blocks in the rain Saturday morning to participate in the city of Ironwood’s tenth annual Spring Cleanup.
A line of vehicles, many with trailers, stretched from the vacant lot on the 300 block of Ayer Street at times to Luther L. Wright School at 638 E. Ayer St. as residents waited to dispose of unwanted items. A steady rain didn’t seem to hold participants back, according to Mayor Kim Corcoran.
“People plan for this, so they’re here rain or shine,” she said. The annual event allows all Ironwood residents the opportunity to throw away any unwanted items in dumpsters free of charge. The waste is then brought to the Gogebic County Transfer Station as part of the city’s contract with J.B. Disposal.
“It’s part of our contract that they provide this service to the citizens of Ironwood,” City Manager Scott Erickson said.
The event is offered as a chance to help residents clean up their homes. “It’s basically a beautification opportunity for the community,” Erickson said. “People can clean out their backyards, clean up their properties, and this is an easy way for them to get rid of it.”
The city also offers an annual Fall Cleanup.
Most residents dispose of miscellaneous items and “home debris,” Erickson said. They see “everything from doors to couches to screens, just a whole bunch of miscellaneous stuff,” he said.
Each cleanup collects “tons and tons” of waste, Erickson said. “It’s like 12 to 15 big, large dumpster loads,” he said. The dumpsters used Saturday were about the size of a small boxcar.
The cleanup is run by city staff and volunteers, including brothers Bernie and Gerald Finco, of Ironwood, who help out every year, Corcoran said. City staff also volunteer their own time, she said.
Also lending a hand was “a good bunch of kids,” according to Lt. Col. David Manki, leader of Luther L. Wright High School’s JROTC program. About 20 JROTC students were unloading residents’ trailers and vehicles. Students help out every year at both the spring and fall cleanups.
“It feels good to help everyone out,” Ironwood senior Christine Simmons said. “I feel like it’s very good for children to get involved with the community. It’s better to help everyone out instead of just helping yourself.”
Their assistance is much appreciated. “It’s a Godsend to have them,” Corcoran said.
“The ROTC has been a huge help with this whole event,” Erickson agreed. “They’re workers. They do a great job.”
That appreciation stretches to all the volunteers. “I would really like to thank everyone that volunteers and helps us out,” Corcoran said. “It’s a good community event.”
Residents are thankful for the event, too. “Most people are appreciative to have the opportunity to get rid of their junk,” Corcoran said.
At least a couple hundred residents participate in each cleanup, Erickson said. Because the event is so successful, it will be continued. “It’s been very successful for the city,” Erickson said. “It’s helped clean up a lot of blight throughout the community. We’ll continue it going forward.”