JAMESTOWN – Following last year’s concern for student safety due to snowy sidewalk conditions, the city is partnering with Jamestown Public School’s to square away the issue before the first snowfall.
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sunquist proposed funding for the project at a City Council Work Session earlier this week.
“The city and the school district will engage in a shared services agreement. The school district would use their capital funds to purchase two new sidewalk plows for the city. The city would maintain those plows. In addition, the city would hire two new additional park laborers, used in the winter primarily for sidewalk plowing,” says Sundquist.
The laborers would remain as parks employees for the remainder of the year, and would be running separate shifts during the winter.
“They would run three different routes. One is a primary route which are main routes that the school district has identified where most of their kids in a given school area come in from. Secondary routes will be additional ones that are normally plowed in addition to the school routes. And the third routes would be even farther,” explains Sundquist.
Once these routes are finished, the laborers would continue with other tasks already being handled by the parks.
Funding to hire the laborers would come through the ARPA funding, and totals $675,000 by 2026. Due to the workers with a CDL shortage, the city would hire laborers without, with the stipulation that they receive their CDL within two years of being hired.
The two plows would cost the school over $300,000, which Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker says is worth it to protect student safety.
“The two times that I needed to close school were primarily the result of sidewalk conditions. And sidewalks don’t load up with snow unless streets load up with snow and DPW is out clearing our streets. The concern was, as streets began to be cleared of the slush and whatnot was built up on the side of the road, you have kids in sneakers or inappropriate footwear, inappropriate pants trying to walk through the snow,” says the Superintendent.
The Superintendent continues that only 20 percent of students are bussed to school, leaving 80 percent of students as walkers or receiving a rise to school from a parent or guardian.