The city of Gillette is slowly taking steps to get back to normal.
On Thursday, it announced municipal court will resume operations on Tuesday, but that other city offices would remain closed to the public until May 18. City departments and divisions will continue to work remotely.
City Hall has been closed since March 16 because of the coronavirus.
The City Council will once again congregate inside its chambers beginning with its May 19 meeting. In the meantime, the City Council will continue to livestream its meetings, gillettewy.gov/gpa.
These announcements go along with popular decisions to resume street sweeping, which started Thursday, re-opening its yard waste facility beginning Friday and its yard waste curbside pickup beginning Monday.
“These measures are based on the information that we have as of Thursday,” according to the city. “As the Wyoming Department of Health makes amendments to the public health orders, this schedule may change. We will use all means at our disposal to inform our residents of any changes.”
Ready to rid of scoria
City officials and residents are excited they will soon be finally able to drive on streets cleaned of scoria.
For the past several weeks, scoria, which is used as traction on snow- and ice-covered roads, and yard waste have piled up because of coronavirus-related restrictions.
After Gov. Mark Gordon decided to relax some of the restrictions Tuesday, the city decided to resume its street sweeping. Crews hit the streets Thursday morning.
Earlier this week, downtown businesses and Powder River Construction helped clean scoria off some of the streets because they didn’t want to wait any longer.
“I’m glad they are starting to open some stuff up, I think it’s a good thing,” The Railyard General Manager Trey McConnell said about some of the restrictions being lifted and the continuation of street sweeping.
Scoria had become a word that has brought out plenty of scorn from residents the past few weeks. Facebook posts piled up daily as dozens of people were angry or confused as to why the city was not cleaning it up.
“We were getting a lot of comments that people were wanting to get the streets swept,” Councilman Bruce Brown said. “It just didn’t look good with all that scoria, so it was time.”
Councilman Tim Carsrud agreed.
“The city folks are ready for it. We felt that,” he said. “Now that the governor has started the first phase in easing restrictions that had been in place, we have to start cleaning up. That’s really the basis of it.”
Time to accept yard waste
Scoria is not the only item that has piled up over the last several weeks. Yard waste has also stacked up across the city.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, people will be able to take their yard waste to the city’s facility at 3101 S. Garner Lake Road.
As soon as restrictions were lifted a little bit, “I thought it was time we started accepting yard waste,” Brown said.
The time off from work for some residents gave them ample opportunities to clean their homes and yards. On April 1, the city resumed its annual curbside service, but a week later it stopped it due to COVID-19. Residents were not billed by the city for that week.
The city will re-open the yard waste facility from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It even will be open Sunday to handle the amount of traffic city officials anticipate. After that, the regular hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Curbside pickup will resume Monday.
To follow social distancing guidelines at the yard waste facility, there will be a city employee at the facility checking the loads and another loading the compost, city spokesman Geno Palazzari said.
Mowing continues to wait
City officials hope to start mowing chores soon.
The parks and streets divisions typical mow the city parks and green spaces from May to October.
The reason for the delay has been the lack of rain the city has received so far this spring and the coronavirus. Because of restrictions, it has not been able to start filling its seasonal positions to do some of the work, Palazzari said.
Even when the city opens up, it may take a little longer because the city has to hire the employee(s) who will then need to be trained, he said.
“Fortunately, we haven’t had (a lot of) rain yet,” Palazzari said.