Snow Removal Revisited
by Jane Whitmore
This winter’s snow has mostly melted and Emmetsburg residents are expressing a desire to get ahead of the game for next year.
Downtown business owner Glo O’Leary addressed the topic of snow removal before members of Emmetsburg City Council at their meeting Monday, March 25.
O’Leary stated she visited with 31 businesses, mainly on Main and Broadway.
“My big concern and my frustration is the snow removal situation in front of the parkway in front our businesses,” she said. “I’m not pointing fingers or anything like that, but I think what we need to do is have a few policies, possibly using the equipment at a more efficient rate because we have good equipment. When you watch, I don’t think it’ really being used efficiently.”
O’Leary pointed out that snow removal is not efficient for the business people who rely on customers coming in to support their businesses.
“I can’t afford my employees to come in to work when we don’t have a parkway,” she said. “…And, that’s a trickle down when they go to the grocery store on Friday or when they pay their bills.”
O’Leary also cited a safety issue.
“This last time around, I know we were all getting ready for St. ?Pat’s, but in front of my shop – and I’ve never done this before, but I was done – and I posted a picture and I said it’s very hard to keep a small business in Emmetsburg because the snow was literally this deep (indicating hip high),” she said. “I had people trying to carry things up and over this pile of frozen snow.”
She added, “If you park in front of Wells Fargo and you’re going to Pizza Ranch or you’re going to come to the Consignment Store or if you’re going to get your hair cut, it doesn’t matter which side of the street you’re doing business on, neither side is clean. There’s no point to that and this is into the third day. I know they’re probably all waiting for the warmth and rain, but guess what, it still hasn’t gotten warm and, yes, we had rain, and, yes, we still had ice.”
O’Leary stated they try to get the snow off their sidewalks so that people can walk safely.
“I don’t think we, as businesses, we don’t know what our rules are,” she told the Council. “We’re told we need to clear the sidewalk, it needs to be two feet out from the curb. For most of us, that isn’t possible, especially like the last snow we had. We have two lanes of traffic coming in to that – the State comes along, at a good clip, and it’s up onto our sidewalk. So, we’re moving State snow.”
O’Leary stressed the need to come up with a plan. She proposed a committee to talk about snow removal policies.
“I’m thinking if we had a committee, we could all come together – maybe put in some ideas or if we can just sit down and figure something out. It’s not working. It’s very disappointing,” she said.
Mayor pro-tem Brian Campbell added, “Before we have to move snow again, we can take a look at our policies and see what can be done, taking safety into consideration.”
In response to Public Works Director Frank Kliegl’s comment about following policies that have been in place for 25 years, O’Leary said, “I think we need to rework some things from years before.”
City Administrator Kim Kibbie noted, “We have talked about this. Frank and I talked about setting up a meeting so that everybody is on the same page and knows what’s going on.”
“We need some guidelines that every business owner, every property owner, stating your responsibility,” O’Leary said. “Your guidelines that you need to do… We want to come together with the city.”
Councilman Mike Hermansen added he has had several discussions on this. The timing, he said, is going to depend on all the other roads that need to be cleared of snow. These are things to be discussed as a committee.