Brunswick Avenue is the only dirt road in Crystal, but it also holds a distinction of being the most popular place for people to dump their junk.
"The first thing I do is check this road because it's a habitual dumping ground," said Crystal Street Superintendent Mark Gaulke.
Gaulke has a short list of parks and a city alley where city crews frequently pick up unwanted items.
"You name it, we pick it up," Gaulke said. "Concrete, lumber, household garbage, lots of furniture, and lots of appliances."
Gaulke says the area at the bottom of the hill on Brunswick Avenue is where people frequently dump, which makes it dangerous for drivers on the dirt road.
"People come from other side and don't see garbage and then hit it. Sometimes there are refrigerators or stoves that will do a lot of damage to a car," said Gaulke, who estimates the problem costs the city of Crystal an estimated six to eight thousand dollars a year.
"That may not seem like a lot, but with a small budget like what I have, that's $6,000-8,000 worth of asphalt I can't patch roads with," said Gaulke. "Hennepin County appliance drop off is very economical, but I think people are just getting lazier."
City crews do look through the dumped items and see if they locate any names associated with the dumped material. There are misdemeanor charges and a fine possible if they can link someone to the items.
At Hennepin County's drop off facility in Brooklyn Park, there are fees for items like tires or appliances. The fees go to fund the recycling program. Some items like electronic media, computers, or televisions are free to drop-off.
"It's very easy," said Darwin Schulz, environmental supervisor. "All we ask is you come in and show your driver's license for proof of residency."
You can see what all Hennepin County recycles on its website.
Hennepin County also advises when you buy a new appliance, check with the retailer to see if they'll recycle the old one. Many retailers will do this for a small fee.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
Monday, July 16, 2012