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The site the city of Hudson has established for dropping off tree debris from the June 21 storms is beginning to fill up. The free site is for Hudson residents only, and proof of residency is required. The is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through July 14. Photo by Randy Hanson

Hudson declares disaster, sets up debris collection site

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news River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Late Monday afternoon, the Hudson City Council affirmed Mayor Alan Burchill's declaration of a disaster emergency following Friday's powerful and rain-drenching windstorms.

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"The city of Hudson is asking for county assistance and requests the county to advise the state of Wisconsin of our emergency/disaster conditions," the declaration reads.

It also authorizes emergency purchases of goods and services, emergency hiring and public works contracting exceeding $25,000 without advertising for bids.

City Administrator Devin Willi said the main reason for the declaration is to make Hudson eligible for any state and federal emergency aid that might be available.

"We're still determining our needs and what happens next," said Mayor Alan Burchill.

Public Works Director Tom Zeuli and the city's consulting engineer, Karen Erickson of Foth Infrastructure and Environment, had earlier in the day toured some of the street and park damage caused by the storms.

"It was way too much water for our (storm sewer) system," Zeuli said of the total of about 5.5 inches of rain that fell on June 21.

The city is asking residents to clean the storm water catch basins next to their homes to reduce flooding if more rain comes our way.

The City Council also approved the purchase of an emergency electrical generator and related equipment for City Hall. The building was left in the dark after the power went out Friday morning.

Tree debris

Zeuli announced that a site for collecting tree debris from Friday's storms has been created at O'Neil and Hanley roads, just east of the Mimbach limestone quarry. The access is off O'Neil Road, north of the building that houses the Giggle Factory.

There's no charge to drop off debris, but property owners are responsible for bringing it there themselves or hiring someone to do it.

The manned site is open to city residents only, who will be asked to show proof of residency. The hours are 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week through July 14.

Many city homeowners have been placing tree debris on the street boulevards in front of their houses. Zeuli said city workers have been instructed not to pick up the branches and logs unless they determine that the debris is from trees that stood in the city-owned right of way.

Mayor Burchill said Zeuli would determine what debris is taken away by city crew members.

"We'll try to pick up as much as possible," Burchill added. "We're providing a space (for residents to drop off the debris)."

It was reported a church group and a nonprofit organization are considering providing a free pickup services.

Citizens' help needed

The Public Works Department is asking for help in cleaning debris from the many stormwater catch basins on city streets.

Cleaning the sticks, leaves and other debris from the grate allows more rainwater to go into the storm sewers, and reduces flooding of homes and businesses.

Homeowners are asked to clean the catch basins in front of their houses if city workers haven't done it yet. They are instructed to place it on the grass near the grate for future pickup. "This will hopefully prevent some localized street flooding during any intense rain events," a notice from the city reads.

Beach closed

The Lakefront Park beach is closed until further notice due to high water and extreme beach erosion. No lifeguards are on duty and swimming is prohibited.

Zeuli said the St. Croix River is expected to rise several feet because of the recent heavy rains. He said he is monitoring the river level.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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