Thirteen Forest Park Public Works employees worked continuously in alternating shifts from a little after noon on New Year’s Eve till 7 a.m. on Jan. 3 to remove all the snow from our streets, alleys and sidewalks.
“With a storm that size, we had a six man crew and a seven man crew rotating every eight hours,” said Public Works Director John Doss. “It took us 64 hours to finish the job. I try to limit them to eight hour shifts, so they are rested.”
When contacted by the Review Sunday morning, Doss said, “We are expecting five to ten more inches of snow today and tomorrow. Ugh!”
“We did not haul any snow away, but we will after this next storm,” Doss continued. “We usually haul snow to Altenhiem off Madison, Village Hall, parking lots, some of Roosevelt and around the schools.”
The national media recently featured Chicago, reporting flight cancelations at O’Hare and homeless people trying to keep warm. The Chicago Tribune said that the last time the high temperature did not get above zero was Jan. 15, 2009. The heavy snowfall and below zero temperatures brought back memories of the February storm the Chicago Area endured in 2011.
Sal Stella has been plowing snow for sixteen years. When interviewed two years ago he said, “Driving a plow truck can be fun at times, but it can also be tiring, depending on how many hours you’re working. If conditions are bad it can also be scary. It can be hard to see because of snow flying off the rig. You’re basically looking a tail lights and hoping you don’t hit anything.”
Michael Marasco, who has been with Public Works for nine years, said that most people appreciate what the crew does, but there are always one or two who swear at one of them for just trying to do his job.
“The main satisfaction,” he added is the next day seeing that the streets are cleared and people are out shopping or doing what they have to do.”
Doss is continually impressed with the competence and teamwork of his crew. “I was out plowing with them during this past storm,” he explained, “and it’s amazing that nothing needs to be said. Everyone just gets in their truck and takes care of business. We break crews into north and south of I-290, and they plow together during the storm, so you could see four trucks coming down the street together.”
“My staff is incredible,” he continued. “They work and the time they are away from the family. No questions asked. They are there. Some of these guys have been doing this for twenty and thirty years plus. Almost all of our snow this year has been on holidays or weekends so they are really missing out on family time.”
“Please stay off the snow route,” Doss added. “Stay off the roads unless you have to go out and drive carefully. We maintain all streets, sidewalks, alleys and village owned parking lots. We do streets first once we get them under control we start on our parking lots then alleys. Sidewalks are last.”
Perhaps the highest praise given to this village’s snow plowing crew was given by a resident of Oak Park who said, “I’m jealous of the snow plowing in Forest Park. Our streets are very slippery and dangerous.”