Osceola County tire collection continues today, Saturday

Peggy (left) and Bob (right) Hoard count tires being dropped off Thursday afternoon to the annual scrap tire cleanup at Middle Branch Township Hall. A grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality helps pay for the proper disposal of the scrap tires. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

MIDDLE BRANCH TWP. – If being covered in dust, dirt and grime helps rid Osceola County of discarded tires, Peggy Hoard is happy to help.

For the last five years, Hoard has spearheaded efforts throughout the county, as well as a portion of Clare County, to dispose of scrap tires properly so they can no longer be an eyesore to residents or breeding haven for mosquitoes.

This year’s collection, which is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, is underway at the Middle Branch Township Hall, and will continue from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Friday, June 1, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 2.

Beginning Wednesday, Hoard, her husband, Bob, a small group of volunteers and a work crew from the Osceola County Community Corrections already had collected and stacked more than 2,000 scrap tires, which filled two semi trailers.

Workers have collected more than 2,000 tires in the two days of the scrap tire cleanup at the Middle Branch Township Hall. More than 5,000 scrap tires are expected to be collected through Saturday, and another 5,000 later this month when the cleanup takes place again. (Pioneer photo/Brandon Fountain)

“The collection is going wonderful,” Peggy said. “I expect about 5,000 by the end on Saturday, and then also 5,000 more when we hold another scrap tire cleanup in June.”

Peggy wasn’t happy with how the cleanup went last year, as she had ordered fewer semi trailers and had to turn people with scrap tires away.

“I vowed to myself that that would never happen again,” she said.

Six years of collecting scrap tires from throughout the county, Peggy is convinced there remains more out there yet to be found or disposed of properly.

“Cleaning up after last year’s collection, I thought we were getting many of the tires out of here,” she said. “Bob said we are probably only touching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the scrap tires. I think he’s right.”

And the tires keep coming year after year.

“The collection has grown quite a bit since the first one,” Peggy explained. “We have people coming to help now, working together to get this done. I’m glad word is spreading. I want to see every unwanted tire out of Osceola County and into Clare County.”

While Peggy isn’t shy about getting her hands dirty by loading or stacking the tires, she is very thankful of having inmates from the Osceola County Community Corrections department are there to help.

“We’re truly blessed to have them,” she said. “They work so hard and do such a great job.”

Each year, Community Corrections has provided a work crew for the scrap tire cleanup, said Rodney Swiger, who supervised the crew on Thursday.

“(The collection) gets them out of the jail for the day and they come ready to work,” he said. “They’re respectful with whomever they meet and they work very hard.”

Swiger also noted the cleanup is an opportunity for the members of the work crew to help the community.

Peggy said the annual cleanup couldn’t be accomplished without the grant from the DEQ.

“(The grant) helps with getting rid of these tires,” she said. “It also allows me to keep looking at other townships who may want to participate. All they would have to do is coordinate with me to get rid of these tires.”

Evart Township resident Gary Hein was happy to get rid of a few scrap tires he had for the last three or four years.

“It is very convenient to have (the collection),” he said. “I couldn’t be happier to be rid of them.”

When the collection wraps up on Saturday, Peggy said the tires will be taken to CM Rubber in Coleman, and will be ground down to be used for a variety of things, from colored mulch to use in playgrounds.

“It’s amazing what they can do with them,” she said.

Peggy and others will collect more scrap tires later this month at the township hall. Collection times will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27, and Thursday, June 28; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 29, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 30.

For more information about the scrap tire cleanup, contact Peggy at (231) 631-9970.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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