Sterling Heights residents drive through the DPW station as workers unload and sort through materials.

Sterling Heights residents drive through the DPW station as workers unload and sort through materials.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Sterling Heights creates environment for spring cleaning, buying trees

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 12, 2019


STERLING HEIGHTS — Clean and green are two words that summarize a series of spring events known as Spring Sterling Pride, which encourages the public to beautify local properties and safely dispose of their junk.

The shine is set to return to Sterling Heights neighborhoods when the city holds its annual spring Pride and Shine Day May 4.

City Manager Mark Vanderpool offered previews of what the annual cleanup event is about.

The city asks for volunteers to gather in the morning at First Church in Sterling Heights, 39400 Dequindre Road, in order to get organized into groups that clean up yards and properties. The city has a list of homes whose owners can’t do property upkeep work due to financial or disability issues.

Vanderpool said March 18 that a group of about 100 volunteers can fix up around 30-50 homes. The helpers will rake leaves, paint, clean gutters, trim shrubbery and more, he said.

“No doubt, the community will be looking good by the time spring gets here and throughout spring,” he added. “And we’ll continue to be able to keep our property values among the highest in the state.”

Besides the Pride and Shine Day, the city has engaged in the spring cleaning spirit with a series of waste disposal events at its Department of Public Works building, located at 7200 18 Mile Road.

On March 30, the city held a paper shredding day, following that up with an April 6 hazardous household materials disposal day for items that normally can’t be discarded at the curb, like paint. The city was scheduled to hold an electronics recycling event April 13.

Erik Skurda, operations manager for the Sterling Heights DPW, said the public enthusiasm for the waste disposal events has been “pretty high” so far.

“Actually, this year we have seen even a bigger turnout than past years,” he said. “Early spring is difficult as far as weather goes. If it’s raining or it’s very cold, people tend to stay in the house. … This year we’ve had very favorable weather, so we’ve had some high counts so far.”

For instance, he said, this year’s hazardous waste disposal day served 996 residents, compared to around 828 last year.

Skurda said the city will hold events on the three Saturdays following Easter — April 27, May 4 and May 11 — at which residents may drop off tires, wood and other trash at the DPW, and the city will take care of the items.

“It’s an incentive to get your yards cleaned up so you don’t have to deal with it through the summer,” he said.

Tree sales to be discounted
City officials said they will offer discounts on tree sales this May. Vanderpool said April 2 that residents may buy a tree that month from a select list of species for a $50 discount, thus costing $250 each instead of the typical $300. Sold trees will be planted in the buyer’s home’s public right of way within an estimated time frame of October to November.

“Last year we had 56 residents purchase trees,” Vanderpool said. “We’d love to see more than 100 residents participating in the program this year. ... Our reforestation program is working well, but we need to continue to make progress.”

Skurda said the trees on the list won’t harm infrastructure by infiltrating their roots into the sewer system, nor will they litter the area with too many nuts or flowers.

“They are also aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “They’re nice trees that don’t have harmful effects on the community at large.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights programs by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489.