Dowagiac Citywide Cleanup Drive-Thru to begin May 15

DOWAGIAC — Spring has sprung, and the city of Dowagiac is ready to assist residents looking to spruce up their properties.

The city will be lending a hand to residents seeking to rid their households of old and unwanted items with its Citywide Clean Up Drive-Thru, which takes place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 15 and 22 at the Department of Public Service on S. Front Street next to Lions Park.

Large dumpsters will be placed outside the facility, and high school volunteers will help residents unload.

Participants are asked to stage on S. Front from Main Street without blocking intersections or drives.

Up to one level truck bed is allowed per city address. Participants are asked to have IDs ready and a copy of their lease, utility bill or tax bill.

In order to be eligible for drop-off, mattresses must be wrapped and sealed in plastic and only refrigerators, freezers, or air conditioners with certification that Freon has been removed.

The city will not accept:

  • Household garbage
  • Blocks, bricks, rocks or concrete
  • Automotive or marine batteries
  • Yard waste
  • Dirt or soil
  • Asbestos
  • Tires
  • Liquids of any kind
  • Paint cans with wet paint
  • Hazardous materials
  • Closed cylinders (Propane, oxygen, helium, water) must be open to visually inspect

Historically, waste disposal crews would be winding their way through city streets during spring cleanup, collecting things such as furniture, appliances and other household debris left out for pickup outside residents within city limits. The ongoing pandemic caused the city to cancel last year’s cleanup and has forced staff to think outside the box as they aim to serve the community.

“What we’ve historically done was a strong, popular program,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson. “Last year, with the pandemic, none of the waste haulers wanted to do it. We went out for bids this year and received zero bidders. For manpower reasons, they weren’t doing cleanups, so we had to rethink this completely.”

This year’s cleanup will be different than the norm, but Anderson hopes the community takes advantage of the opportunity.

“We didn’t want to change how we did it,” he said. “We simply were not able to find a vendor to do this. We’re working on it this year and we can always make adjustments going forward. This provides residents with an opportunity and I think it can be a good event.”

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