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Cloquet tests city sidewalk snowblower

Public Works employee Matt Peterson operates a demonstration blower along Carlton Avenue on Dec. 18. The city may begin a program to clear the sidewalks on some of the major pedestrian routes in town. Contributed Photo

Take heart, pedestrians and kids who walk to school, your travels may become less arduous, if a city plan to clear some of the major pedestrian routes moves forward.

At its Dec. 3 work session meeting, the Cloquet City Council met with City Engineer Jim Prusak and Street Maintenance Supervisor Les Peterson to discuss the possibility of the Public Works Department assisting with snow removal along various sidewalks in town. Although Prusak indicated that without significant cost it would be virtually impossible for his department to remove snow from every walk, he did endorse the idea of identifying certain key walkways to clear, particularly around some of the schools. Peterson suggested the department experiment with various snow blower attachments that are available for the city’s skidsteer loader that was recently purchased.

Little did anyone know that over the next two days the area would receive 20 inches of snow in the first major storm of the season.

City crews have had their hands full ever since just dealing with the streets in town but last Wednesday the first demo blower was delivered from Ziegler Equipment. According to Peterson, the biggest challenge is finding a place to blow the snow without having to haul it away, which then requires additional time, people and equipment. Although the City Council suggested just blowing it into people’s front yards, Prusak responded that such a plan of attack would not sit well with everyone in town. On the other hand, he was hopeful that if people wanted their sidewalks cleared by the city, maybe they would endorse such a plan. In any event, the Public Works Department was planning to experiment with their new equipment over the next few days, or until the next major storm throws another punch their way.