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Watertown crews continue ice storm cleanup

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The city of Watertown is continuing its cleanup efforts from last week’s ice storm that left the area with thousands of damaged trees and downed limbs and branches.

Using a bucket truck and chipping machine, a Department of Public Works crew is devoting all of its time this week to removing debris causing dangerous situations along city streets.

“They were out on day one,” said Peter E. Monaco, assistant superintendent of public works.

Starting next week, DPW workers will begin getting rid of other debris from trees and limbs.

City officials are asking for residents to assist them in the efforts by not placing tree debris in the margins — the area between the street and sidewalk.

Debris must be placed on the other side of the sidewalk, he said. Tree branches should be a manageable length, no longer than five to six feet, be stacked in an area that does not obstruct sidewalks, and have at least a two-foot clearance from the road edge. It is important debris does not interfere with snow removal procedures, Mr. Monaco insisted.

Much of the remaining debris in front and back yards will not be picked up until the spring, when the snow is gone.

City officials have not had a chance to estimate the extent of the city’s tree canopy. The Planning Department plans to complete a tree inventory in the future to see how bad it is in Watertown, said Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator.

In the village of Sackets Harbor, where damage was much worse, cleanup efforts began Monday.

Village crews hit Main Street, while the Hounsfield Town Highway Department started cleaning up the road leading into the village, said Mayor Vincent J. Battista III.

Crews in the village and town will only pick up debris on the village right of way, which is from the sidewalk to the road.

They will not pick up residential yard debris during this operation. Yard debris should not be moved to the village right of way or crews may be forced to close village sidewalks until spring, the mayor said. Storm debris in residents’ yards will be picked up during the spring after snow removal operations have ended.

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