Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and the Jamestown Public Schools District are proposing a shared services plan to keep sidewalks clear of snow during the winter.
Sundquist, with School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker, presented the proposed plan to City Council at its work session Monday night.
Dr. Whitaker said the two times he needed to close schools in Jamestown were due to sidewalk conditions, “And sidewalks don’t load up with snow unless streets load up with snow and DPW is out clearing streets. So, the concern was as streets begin to be cleared and the slush and whatnot is built up on the side the road, you have kids in sneakers or inappropriate footwear, inappropriate pants, trying to walk through the snow and so we have a safety issues for them. We have a health issue for them.”
Whitaker said he then contacted the City to see what could be done.
Sundquist said he and a team representing Public Works met with the district to discuss the current sidewalk plan and what changes could be made, “And the Superintendent and I along with our staff were trying to figure out a way that we could get the majority of the city plowed to allow kids safe passage to school, so that we don’t have to see them walking in the streets because sidewalks are unshoveled or unplowed, and we’re able to get them to and from school safely.”
The proposed agreement with the Jamestown Public Schools District includes the district using Capital reserve funds to purchase two sidewalk plows at an estimated cost of $306,518 that the city would maintain.
The city would hire two additional Parks laborers to be used primarily for sidewalk plowing between November 15 and April 15. They would be used for regular Parks duties the rest of the year.
Sundquist said the two laborers would run a separate shift from 4:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., “But they would run three different routes. One is a primary route which are main routes that the school district has identified where most of the kids in a school area come in from. Secondary routes would be additional ones that we would normally plow, additional school routes, and the third routes would be even farther. So under this plan, you would actually cover most of the city.”
The Parks laborer positions are estimated to cost $675,331 over a four year period between August 2022 and the end of 2026. They would be funded using American Rescue Plan monies.
Council member at large Jeff Russell asked what percentage of students walk to school versus being bussed or given rides. Dr. Whitaker replied that 20% of students are bussed with the other 80% walking or getting rides, adding that it’s hard to gauge how many receive rides as it’s usually based on weather.
Sundquist said a resolution on the agreement will be coming soon to Council for further review.