Many Forest Parkers are probably still nursing snow hangovers from the blizzard that blew through town two weeks ago.
Last week the National Weather Service, the federal agency that determines the official snowfall for recordkeeping, briefly designated what the Chicago Tribune called the Groundhog Day blizzard the fourth-worst snowstorm in Chicago history. After quibbling with media outlets on a conference call over the duration of the storm, which initially prompted the agency to yank .2 inches from the total snowfall, it was decided that the blizzard lasted three days instead of two. Thus, it regained its number-three status.
Three days. 21.2 inches.
The snow started to fall heavily on the afternoon of Feb.1. Any Forest Parker that was outside that afternoon knows that the village already had trucks plowing many of the streets. What’s more, the Bobcats were out clearing the sidewalks of Madison Street.
Throughout the storm, the village crews worked alternating 12-hour shifts to make sure many of the arterial streets were passable, Village Administrator Tim Gillian said.
We wish to commend the efforts of the village employees who cleared the streets and sidewalks. What’s more, Gillian deserves credit for being on-scene, and helping out; he said he was “out” for over 24 hours lending a hand.
But, the Forest Park Review received a letter and several Web comments from local residents who were angry about a perceived neglect of the streets, sidewalks, and alleys south of Interstate-290.
Mayor Anthony Calderone noted in a Facebook post, on Wed., Feb. 9: “As of Monday [Feb. 7] all north and south sidewalks south of the I-290 have been cleaned.”
That was several days after the blizzard. We understand that this was one of the worst storms the area has ever seen, but residents on both sides of town deserve equal attention. Perhaps the village should have divvied up more of their areas of concentration, and focused more on the south side of town.
At the same time, a certain amount of responsibility falls upon residents. Don’t complain because the village didn’t shovel your sidewalk a day after 21 inches of snow fell. There was a lot of work to be done. If you’re an able-bodied person, you should have done some of your own shoveling. Furthermore, the village eventually did get to the sidewalks.
The sidewalks on Madison deserved a certain amount of extra attention because they keep the town’s economic pulse beating.
Perhaps the village could have planned a little better; but, again, there’s only so much planning that can be done to respond to such severe weather. There’s a certain amount of improvisation that takes place.
Considering what it was up against, we think the village did a stand-up job. Our hats are off.