I promise, this will be the last time I mention winter this year (until the fall). I know everyone is tired of talking about it but I thought you might be interested in a few local statistics.
I knew it was a long, tough winter but I was amazed when we determined that our plow drivers travelled a total of 65,000 miles since the start of the season. That’s an extraordinary number for a city of ten square miles. Our main salt spreaders spend 80-85% of their time on our main routes. We’ve calculated that they hit each lane about 600 times.
We almost ran out of salt a number of times and only salted the intersections, hills and curves on a number of occasions. Even though we tried to conserve our salt allotment we still spread over 5,000 tons of salt on the roads this winter. That’s 10 million pounds of salt. Frankly, I’m not sure how Lake Erie remains a fresh water lake. All of this salt eventually goes to the lake. At a cost of $35 dollars a ton it equates to $175,000 literally “down the drain.”
During the winter season it’s always tough to keep sidewalks clear. Most cities really struggle with their downtown areas (at least those fortunate to have downtown areas). Shop keepers and property owners are responsible for clearing the walks, but, as always, some do a great job and others do very little. It’s very tough for a city to enforce these measures each time it snows.
The Heart of Willoughby organization recognized this as a problem a few years ago and really stepped up to help. For the past two seasons they’ve paid a contractor to clear the walks downtown. They allocated $5,000 each year for this effort. This is money that they earn by running the Saturday Outdoor Market from May through October. They also use this money to promote the City in various ways, including their Last Stop Willoughby festival in August.
I’d like to thank the Heart of Willoughby and their current officers; Kathi Cannon, President; Bill Henrich, Vice President; Julie Yonek, Treasurer; Heather Zele, Secretary; and Maureen Gregory and Cheryl Kuonen, Board Members, for the wonderful service they’ve provided to the city. I also want to thank Greg Patt, a past officer, for his role in starting this program two years ago. These are really dedicated folks, and the Heart of Willoughby is just another reason why Willoughby is such a special city.
I hope to see many of you at the Saturday Market, which begins again on May 3rd. I also hope to see you at the Shade Tree Commission’s annual Arbor Day ceremony on April 25th and the Eco Flea Market on April 26th. As always you can get more information at www.willoughbyohio.com.
Have a great month.