The leaves have been raked to the curbs, but when will the city crews and vacuum truck arrive to pick them up?
That's the question residents in some Marietta neighborhoods have been asking since area trees began shedding leaves with the onset of cold weather this month.
"I've been getting phone calls from people in the Norwood area asking why their leaves are not being picked up," said Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
A Marietta city streets crew works to clean up leaves that have fallen along Wooster Street Wednesday morning. The streets department is currently conducting the annual citywide leaf pickup program with only one leaf vacuum machine and one crew until a new vacuum that was ordered earlier this year arrives.
He said city council ordered a new leaf vacuum truck several months ago, but the vehicle has apparently not arrived in time for the fall leaf pickup program.
"We also hired two temporary workers to assist city crews with the leaf pickup this year," Kalter noted. "The crew hasn't been in this area since last year."
Mayor Joe Matthews said the leaf pickup crew is making its way through the city streets with the current vacuum truck, but the new vacuum, scheduled to arrive last week, has not come in.
About Marietta's leaf pickup program
The city has designated four areas for residents to drop off bagged leaves: Indian Acres, Buckeye Park, Lookout Park and the Greenleaf Landscapes compost facility on Ohio 821 (check in at the Greenleaf Landscapes store first).
Only leaves can be dropped off at these sites, and residents are asked to not put bagged leaves out for crews to pick up.
Leaves to be picked up should not be bagged, but raked into the area between the curb and sidewalk-and not into the street where they may clog storm sewer drains.
"No parking" signs will be placed on city streets the day before or on the day leaves are scheduled to be cleaned up. Residents are asked to move vehicles off the street when those signs are posted.
Source: City of Marietta.
"The crews are out on their routes, picking up leaves on schedule," he said. "But they had a couple of days off for the holiday last week, and they're catching up. When the new machine arrives that will help."
Matthews noted a lot of leaves have fallen all at once due to rain and cold weather earlier this month.
"We're just asking people to be patient," he said. "The crews will be coming to their neighborhoods."
Chris Hess, streets department foreman, said for the last three or four years the city has had two leaf vacuums and two crews to work on the leaf pickup program. But one of those machines became inoperable, so city council ordered a new vacuum earlier this year.
"It's the same type of machine, and was supposed to come in Friday, but there's been a delay in shipment due to a backlog of orders at the distributor," Hess said. "But we're moving along pretty quickly, thanks to the good weather."
He said the leaf pickup program began a month ago, but due to holidays the last two weeks have been short.
"We're completing the first phase of leaf pickup, from Front through Tenth streets today, and will be moving to the west side area by Thursday," Hess said on Wednesday.
He said weather permitting, it would possibly be another week before the leaf crews move into the Norwood area, although the work could be expedited if the new leaf vacuum arrives soon.
City crews began the leaf cleanup from Front through Tenth streets, then on the cross streets of Putnam through Montgomery streets.
City residents can drop off bagged leaves at no charge at four different locations, including Indian Acres, Lookout Park, Buckeye Park and Greenleaf Landscaping's State Route 821 compost site (stop by Greenleaf Landscaping before going to compost site).
Free locations are "for bagged leaves only-no limbs, no brush, no plants," said Stockel. "If the locations are being abused, it will be discontinued."
Residents are asked not to put bagged leaves out for city crews to pick up, but should rake loose leaves into piles between the curb and sidewalk.
Kalter said he remains concerned that the leaves already raked to the curb in his ward will blow out into the street and clog storm sewers if it rains before the leaf vacuum gets to those neighborhoods.
"These leaves are becoming a real issue in this end of town," he said.