Help has arrived.
The cities of Champaign, Effingham and El Paso, in addition to Champaign County Highway staff and various townships, are helping St. Joseph Public Works with brush pick up this week.
Assistant Public Works Director Luke Fisher said crews will be in town this week collecting brush from the storms on June 29.
The crews are available to help because of the Illinois Public Work Mutual Aid organization the village belongs to.
The mutual aid network is a group of public works-related agencies whose principal purpose is to provide mutual aid response and recovery assistance to each other when confronted with natural or man-made emergencies and disasters.
Fisher said without the help, he isn’t sure what the village would do with all the brush.
“We couldn’t pick it up,” he said.
The City of Champaign is bringing a 50-foot boom truck to get limbs stuck in trees that the village cannot reach.
They are also bringing an arborist to look at trees that may need to come down.
The village sent three requests to the network. The first two got no response because villages and cities were busy cleaning up their own towns.
“The third time other towns responded and said we will send this and that,” Fisher said.
Fisher said the organization is invaluable.
“They are volunteering to come here and they are coming here to help us. It is just another asset,” he said.
Fisher said the crews will be split up to cover the town. The village is asking residents to keep their vehicles off the streets and to avoid areas where crews are working.
The brush will be burned on the east side of the sports complex, Fisher said.
“We had a hang-up getting a burn permit and Tami, the mayor, called our local representatives,” Fisher said. “So we have open burn permission from the state.”
The village previously planned on using a contained burn curtain from the state but it is unavailable, Fisher said.
The village is also looking at obtaining a large grinder.
“Champaign County Emergency Management Agency has been a huge asset with getting everything organized,” Fisher said.
Fisher said the goal is to have most of the brush cleaned up this week but he wanted to remind residents that the village cannot go on private property to pick up brush.
“It needs to be cut up into manageable pieces on the curb,” Fisher said.