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Cloquet resident brings alley snow removal concerns to City Council

Jeremy Johnson said the snow in the alley by his house makes him feel like the city has forgotten about him.

An SUV drives down Gillogly Road in Twin Lakes Township on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.
An SUV drives down Gillogly Road in Twin Lakes Township on Dec. 15.
Amy Arntson / Cloquet Pine Journal file photo
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CLOQUET — Jeremy Johnson has concerns about the city's snow removal process.

Speaking to the City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Ward 2 resident said his home is accessible through alley access and the snow buildup has made it hard for him to get in and out.

"Sometimes we feel like we get forgotten about," Johnson said. "I have to make a three- to five-point turn to get out of my driveway."

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Cloquet resident Jeremy Johnson address the Cloquet City Council about his snow removal concerns Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Dylan Sherman / Cloquet Pine Journal

Johnson said with the snow in the alleys, it makes it difficult for him to leave his home and he only has inches of space to the side of his vehicle when driving.

City Administrator Tim Peterson said it can be tough to get the right equipment down alleys as they are already tight to begin with.

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"We are aware. Alleys are something we try to get to," he said. "Generally speaking, alleys are something that at a certain point during the year we try to get to and widen back out."

Public Works Director Caleb Peterson said the process of clearing alleys had begun last week; however, every time it snows, crews are pulled back to the road. "Trying to prioritize, it's tough sometimes," he said.

Tim Peterson added that he would look at the area in the coming days and see if they city could help with widening the alley. However, he reminded the council that snow removal is not an easy or fast process. He said the city recently helped out at the Cloquet schools and it took four days to get that snow cleared.

The Wood City Riders have spent more than 1,000 hours clearing snowmobile trails, while officials are making no guarantees about ski trails opening in Jay Cooke State Park.

Councilor Lara Wilkinson said that holding a meeting to explain the city's policies and procedures for snow removal might be beneficial, as she has heard a lot of misinformation on how the current policy works. "It would be helpful, for the council and community, to have a primer on what we actually do (and) how we do it," she said.

Peterson also thanked volunteers who helped clear the cross-country ski trails, which he described as a "disaster" after the snowstorms in December. He said volunteers came from cross-country ski groups and high school students who spent over 100 hours clearing the paths, which were littered with fallen trees.

"Without the help of them, that for sure would not have been able to be accomplished," he said.

The city's snow removal policy is available at cloquetmn.gov/departments/public-works/snow-and-ice-control-policy.

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Related Topics: CLOQUETCLOQUET CITY COUNCILGOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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