This afternoon Minot’s City Council declared a snow emergency for the City of Minot.
That means the city can apply for state emergency funding after three winter storms in one month pushed its snow removal resources to the limit.
But is there room for the city to improve when it comes to digging out roads?
One Minot man thinks so, and he’s been making his voice heard.
Tim Olson spoke with him.
(Damon Deslondes, Minot Resident) “I love Minot to death.”
(Tim Olson, KX News) Damon Deslondes moved to Minot from Colorado four years ago. And one month into the snowiest North Dakota winter he’s ever seen, he’s been less than satisfied with the city’s snow removal process.
He’s spoken with city council members and the mayor – and now, he’s taken to Facebook and formed a group – Minot Roads 911 – where about 250 people have been stirring up discussion on the topic.
(Deslondes) “You look at your computer and you see people crying out for help, ‘I haven’t been able to leave my home in four days,’ something’s out of balance. So let’s get that fixed.”
(Olson) One fix, according to Deslondes, could be to devote less energy to emergency snow routes.
(Deslondes) “To get them so clean that you can see the concrete curb to curb, I think, is an excessive use of the assets that could be pushed off into the neighborhoods.”
(Olson) One city official says that just isn’t an option.
(Derek Hackett, City of Minot Public Information Officer) “Emergency routes are classified as a high priority because they’re largely traveled; they are main arteries to other locations, so it makes sense for those to get the very first and most attention right off the bat.”
(Olson) Hackett says if first responders need to reach an unplowed residential road, the street department is on call to clear a path.
Deslondes also wants to see collaboration between the Street Department and the Minot Park District.
(Deslondes) “Have it set up in advance to where they could lend their equipment to public works to get people out of their homes and get back to normal in the community.”
(Olson) Both City and Park officials say such a collaboration would be tough to pull off.
(Hackett) “We can’t put it on them to take care of our property. The city streets are the City of Minot’s responsibility. It’s sort of unfair to ask them to chip in when they have their own snow to move, just like the rest of us.”
(Olson) Deslondes says he plans on attending a public works committee meeting next week to share these and more ideas – and both parties are optimistic about the possibilities.
(Hackett) “This whole discussion could lead to some really positive things for the city.”
(Deslondes) “This is about trying to create positive change in the future.”
(Olson) In Minot, Tim Olson, KX News.
That Public Works Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:30pm at Minot City Hall.
Click here to visit the Minot Roads 911 Facebook group.
Click here to see the text of the City of Minot Snow Removal Plan.