By anyone’s standards who understands dirt, it’s more of a mountain.
Located on Bower Lane behind Blythe-Bower Elementary School, the manmade peak has sat for two years since the timely excavation that led to the design and development of the 18th Street detention pond, a giant reservoir that has since kept the Whirlpool Cleveland Division plant and area residents in the dry during seasons of heavy rain.
For years, Southeast Cleveland residents in the immediate vicinity and Bradley County’s largest manufacturing employer had become prone to flooding. Before its purchase by Whirlpool in March 2006, portions of the former Maytag Cleveland Cooking Products plant actually went underwater twice, forcing a costly halt in production.
That all changed when local, state and federal governments partnered to figure out a solution — the construction of detention ponds, one of which was the 18th Street excavation whose shoveling out led to the giant pile of dirt. What got dug out got piled up elsewhere.
In the two years since the mountain’s rise, the Cleveland Department of Public Works has used — or given away — about a quarter of its massive volume, according to Tommy Myers, department director. Projects like Ocoee Street and Blue Springs Road improvements have benefited from the unending supply, but the city now wants to hasten the process.
The organic majesty covers about an acre and serves as an admitted eyesore to area residents who Myers said would be just as happy to see it toted away.
“We just want to get rid of it so the residents there don’t have to keep looking at it,” Myers stressed. “It’s a massive quantity of dirt that we can’t seem to get rid of on our own (with city-related development projects and giveaways).”
So the city is making a public appeal for those needing some fill dirt.
They’re calling it, “Come and get it.”
“It’s not topsoil,” Myers clarified. “It’s just fill dirt. But there’s a lot of it.”
The rules are simple.
Area residents who want it are responsible for providing their own transportation, for loading it and for getting it home. The city retains no liability in the loading or hauling of the material, Myers stressed.
Those wishing to stake a claim on some dirt may drop by the structure any time during the workday or weekends. Myers asked haulers not to pick up at night as a courtesy to sleeping area residents in the surrounding neighborhood.
Call it a buffet of fill-in, a big hill or a volcano without the hole in the middle; regardless of title, it’s available and it’s free, Myers noted. And, the best part about this all-day buffet is diners may return with their dirty plates (or trucks).
“First come, first served,” the public works director offered.
By fill dirt standards, it’s the real McCoy but it comes with no warranties, no refunds and no guarantees. It’s likely rich with fishing worms but short on gold and other cherished minerals.
It’s a lot of things but mostly it’s just big.
“It’s huge ... just a big ol’ pile of dirt,” Myers said. “And the city needs to get rid of it.”
This Blue Light Special on soil has no expiration.
And no appointments necessary.
It’s just dirt.
And lots of it.
“All we can say is come and get it,” Myers chuckled.