No sidewalk relief this winter

SOUTHWICK – Property owners along College Highway had to dig through snowbanks this past weekend, and relief from the town is not likely to come until next winter.
The Board of Selectmen have discussed how to help alleviate the burden of removing snow from the new sidewalks, which do not have tree belts. Snow from plows is pushed right onto the sidewalks, creating snowbanks of hard packed snow left for property owners to remove. In some cases, the sidewalks have parking lots on the other side, leaving nowhere for the snow to go.
The board explored several options, including leasing equipment that could tackle the snow. However, under that option, legal counsel has advised the board that if the town takes on any responsibility for clearing the sidewalks, it must take full responsibility and completely clear, sand, and salt them.
The board also discussed using equipment owned by the Cemetery Commission until something could be leased or purchased, at least to clear town sidewalks.
The board asked Department of Public Works Director Jeffrey Neece about snow removal after Nemo hit town.
“I think we did fairly well,” said Neece of the overall efforts of the town.
When asked about the cemetery equipment, Neece said it had not been used.
“John (Westcott, buildings and grounds director) said he didn’t want to use it because they weren’t trained on it,” said Neece.
Selectman Russell Fox, who owns a business on College Highway, has been a proponent of assisting with clearing sidewalks. He said Monday that while the winter is nearly over this year, they need to look ahead.
“For next year we really have to do some serious planning,” said Fox. “We need to get a piece of equipment to at least take care of town property.”

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