Several local residents appeared before the Sturgis City Council, Monday night, to express concerns and dissatisfaction with street clearing efforts after last weeks blizzard.
- Sturgis City Manager David Boone gave a presentation on snow removal when the meeting began. He outlined the city’s plan and what transpired every day during the storm. Based on what happened, Boone said, the city could not have done anything differently.
Cindy Klien referred to cleanup on Junction Avenue and Lazelle Street as “terrible.” She explained there was barely room for two lanes of traffic, and she couldn’t see around the corners.
Klien said she couldn’t figure out the cleanup on Main Street, as most businesses were probably closed. She is a home health nurse and added she almost got hit numerous times while going to see patients because there was only one lane of traffic in many places.
“Probably 90 percent of us need to get out because we need our jobs to get where we’re going,” Klien continued. “I don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle.”
Klien said she was around town a lot seeing patients after Nov. 8 and couldn’t tell that someone was working 24 hours a day on main roads that needed clearing.
While acknowledging the heavy snow and difficulty in getting around, Klien added many elderly people were stuck inside for some time. She suspects the area will receive a lot of snow this year.
Donna Lee lives on Douglas Street in Sturgis.
“I’ve never seen such a horrendous mess,” she said.
Her son lives on Eighth Street, and Lee said that street was never plowed out.
Lee added that she shoveled six feet of snow off the top of her car, which had snow dumped on it. She said no cars were on the street’s other side, and she paid a private person to open the city street in front of her home.
“Main Street should not be your top priority,” Lee continued. “Junction and Lazelle – your lifelines of this city – should be your main opening where two lanes of traffic can get through.”
The Sturgis Community Center and Sturgis Liquor parking lots, according to Lee, should be the last priorities.
If the city doesn’t have the right types of equipment, Lee said, that should be considered.
Lee also suggested some type of committee planning. “We’re not going to go anywhere if we don’t get a better plan if we get two to three feet of snow dropped on us three times a month.” She went on to say that scenario has happened before.
Venus Rice lives on Eighth Street and said drivers plowed snow from Hope Street onto Eighth. She added she spent two days shoveling snow so she could get out and check on elderly folks.
Rice is a native of Pennsylvania, which receives considerably more snow than South Dakota. She said the plows there are able to move heavy snow with no problem.
“Pennsylvania gets the plows out as soon as it starts snowing,” Rice said. “They do not wait for it to end.”
Linda Two Crow said her sister lives in the Main Street apartments, where a number of residents are ill. Two Crow added one week passed before she could get to her sister to dig her out.
Two Crow went on to say she thinks that should be a priority and echoed others’ sentiments.
“I appreciate the stuff that’s been done, but I saw a lot of trucks just setting – a lot of loaders just setting – for hours,” she said.
Roger Schieman asked if entities like the Water Department and Parks Department have back hoes. He inquired, if that is the case, why those were not used to help clear city streets.
Schieman said some street areas were opened, but the snow was dumped on the sidewalk. He asked who was responsible for snow that comes off the city streets and is dumped onto private property.
He added he has seen other places where cleared snow is dumped onto a fire hydrant.
“Who’s responsible if a fire breaks out, and you cannot get to that fire hydrant?” he asked. “The property owner, or the city?”
Schieman related the area received about 52 inches of snow in 1973. He said he didn’t hear citizens’ comments then like he heard tonight.
Boone, responding to a question, said the community center was set up as a shelter. He added a number of areas in town lacked power, and those people went there.