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Huntsville crews remove more than 1M pounds of debris; Maple Hill Cemetery reopens

HUNTSVILLE – City crews have removed 1.4 million pounds of debris as cleanup efforts continue following last week’s storms.

Public Works Director Chris McNeese projected crews will gather about the same amount of debris with personnel and equipment devoted exclusively to cleanup Friday and Saturday.

Maple Hill Cemetery, which experienced several downed trees, reopened today.

The city expects the majority of the debris on the ground to be removed by early next week and crews will proceed with the removal of damaged trees as needed over the coming weeks.

Assessment of damage to markers continues and the cemetery will contact families of loved ones whose markers were affected by the storm.

Families visiting Maple Hill are asked to use extreme caution and avoid areas where workers are present.

“It’s much better for people who are not there for a specific purpose to avoid the cemetery while debris cleanup and removal continues,” City Administrator John Hamilton said. “In the next 48 hours, cleanup crews will be making a significant amount of progress.”

Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling, whose district includes some of the damaged areas, has walked through each neighborhood since Thursday.

Work has included hauling away fallen trees, removing branches from Calhoun Street and saving historic retainer blocks at the Annie Merts Center on Randolph Avenue.
“I’m proud to work with City departments and employees to ensure tree cutting, removal, utility restoration and other services for hard-hit communities,” Kling said. “Our beautiful downtown district will return to normal in the near future, despite losing numerous trees.”

The National Weather Service forecast office in Huntsville determined three tornadoes affected the city. Areas impacted by the tornadoes include the Five Points, Blossomwood and Old Town neighborhoods near downtown, Maple Hill Cemetery, Monte Sano community and Hampton Cove area.

Downed trees and damage were also reported in the areas of Oakwood Avenue and Pulaski Pike in North Huntsville.

“Crews have done an outstanding job in removing debris and clearing roadways and we ask for everyone’s patience because they still have a lot of work to do,” McNeese said. “Their dedication has been greatly appreciated as they help residents recover from the storms.”

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