Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Business owners concerned about snow removal

February 6, 2002

Susie Wiles sets her clock early on snowy mornings.

"My first thought is to get to work earlier and to clean my sidewalk off," Wiles said.

As owner of Susie's Hair Fashions, 612 E. Fourth, Wiles is conscientious about clearing the way for her customers. And she said she wished the city would be the same way.

"For 28 years I've cleaned my sidewalk, every bit of it, not just one little path," Wiles said. "I come into work sometimes a half-hour or 45 minutes earlier to do my sidewalks before my customers come in."

As Wiles talked Thursday morning, she chipped away at a 2-foot-high windrow of snow lodged between her sidewalk and the street. The city should find a better way of removing snow, she said.

"They should run their blades and move the snow and ice away from the curb and pile it in the center of main street, and come up with the highloader and dumptruck and pick it all up," Wiles said.

Paul Davis, owner of Fourth Street CafFourth and Green streets, closed up shop on Wednesday, but Thursday morning when he arrived, business was back. And parking spaces were few.

"When they plowed Green Street there was two foot of snow piled up on the church side and a foot and a half piled up on my side," Davis said. "I had to hunt somebody down to plow my parking lot."

Tonganoxie City Administrator Shane Krull said Thursday morning that the two-day ice storm made clearing streets even more difficult than usual.

"According to the information in the Kansas City area," Krull said, "this is probably one of the worst ice storms that we've had in this region for some time."

Because of the ice, the city's two trucks have been on the roads spreading sand and salt.

"Essentially for two and a half days we've had people working into the night, as well as coming in early in the morning," Krull said.

And, as the continuing fall of freezing rain washed the salt off the streets, it had to be reapplied.

"With limited staff and equipment it's more difficult to get everything removed in a manner that everyone would like," Krull said.

Butch Rogers, Tonganoxie public works director, said the city's mission was to clear downtown streets.

"If we don't get the snow off the streets it won't do any good to have the sidewalks looking nice and pretty because no one's going to be able to come downtown anyway," Rogers said.

Davis said he understood the city's situation.

"Picking it up would probably take a lot of manpower and another truck and I don't know if that would be real logical," Davis said.

A compromise, Davis said, would be for the city to obtain a smaller truck used for carrying snow away from the business district, but even then, he said he wasn't sure if that would solve the problem.

"It's difficult for a city to meet everybody's needs," he said.

Meanwhile, Rogers asked business owners to be patient.

"They need to understand if it had been a normal snowstorm, we would have plowed all the streets and plowed everything to the edge and last night we would have come in and hauled everything off," Rodgers said. "But with the situation the way it was, I couldn't pull my salt and sand trucks in."

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