GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 30, 2013

The Mayor's Desk: Cleaning up from a rough winter

The Mayor's Desk
Carolyn Kirk

---- — After a fairly difficult winter, spring is finally here.

In true New England fashion, it seems like one day it’s snowing and the next day the flowers are popping up and the warm sun gives us pause.

The transition from winter to spring does not, however, occur overnight for the city and the Department of Public Works. It will take a few weeks for our spring cleaning to be done, and to return the city to its full beauty. Here are some ways we can help you with your spring cleaning, and you can help us with ours.

Let’s start with potholes — the roads took a beating this winter. DPW crews will be out just about every day (weather dependent) to fix potholes. To report a pothole, call the main DPW phone number at 978-281-9785.

Street sweeping began this week, and we are making our way through the downtown area now. Once we are convinced the snow is behind us, we will post a city-wide schedule on the city website. We intend on going ward by ward as we have for the last few years.

DPW will be working closely with the Police Department to ensure signs are posted in the areas scheduled to be swept so that cars can be kept off the roads. As always, you can help by sweeping debris from your sidewalks into the street close to the curb.

If your recycling bin was blown away during the blizzard, for five dollars you can obtain a new one at the DPW during normal business hours on Poplar Street. Or, just use your own barrel and label it with a green recycling sticker. The stickers are free and can be obtained at public works.

As you clear your yards and gardens from winter’s windblown debris, the city’s compost facility is ready for you. The compost facility is open today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it will be open for six consecutive Saturdays, beginning April 20 and running through May 25. It is located on Dogtown Road off Cherry Street.

The Boulevard also took a beating this winter, and crews will be out raking and removing storm-related debris. Getting the Boulevard and Stage Fort Park cleaned up will take a few weeks as this is labor-intensive work, and the DPW crews are pulled in many directions this time of year.

The Magnolia Pier and the Good Harbor Beach footbridge bore the brunt of multiple winter storms. The harbormaster’s office and the Waterways Board are responsible for the Magnolia Pier, and they are formulating their plan now. The DPW has responsibility for the Good Harbor footbridge.

We have enlisted the help of the appropriate engineering services for assessing structural integrity and are working with the Conservation Commission. Our goal is to have it back together by the beginning of May. We anticipate the repair to be fairly expensive, and of course this is an unbudgeted item. Thank goodness we have built up our rainy day fund so we can pay for it. Or shall we call it the snowy winter fund?

It was a long winter and everyone is anxiously anticipating spring. Please give our Director of Public Works Mike Hale and his hearty crews your understanding and patience as we make the seasonal transition. Happy Spring!

Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.