The below is an open letter by the Guardian’s editor, Derek Myers, to the City of Chillicothe’s administration. The letter, itself, does not reflect the views of the Guardian or the Guardian’s staff.
Members of Council, Mayor Feeney, and Director Carman:
I’m writing this open letter with hopes of change. I’m not quick to complain. I always try to find a resolution on my own before I bring in other resources.
I realize we have had a lot of winter weather this week and it has caused havoc across many parts of the region. However, I have some serious concerns with the way things are being handled within the city.
I drove 300 miles yesterday across three states, all of which were impacted by the same storm we had here in Chillicothe. The roads varied based on geographical location, but it became apparent to me when I arrived home that Chillicothe has a defect. I’m not sure where this defect lies, but it’s evident that one exists. I’m not going to point fingers, but what I do know is, the administration has the ability to identify and fix the defect.
The roads are full of slush. Again, I realize we have had a winter storm, but other cities who have had this same system have done phenomenally well at keeping their roads consistently clear. One pass down Yoctangee Parkway is not enough. Crews must be addressing the main routes hourly. It would appear as if the solution is simple: putting a plow blade down closer to the pavement and making hourly passes on a route, but I’m not an expert in this area.
I understand the sheer volume of snow (which turns to slush) can pose a problem. The space to “move it over” can be limited. Currently, I don’t see this being the issue with this storm. It appears as if it is simply being ignored and that is unacceptable. Future storms may pose such a problem of volume and I hope to see the city’s full resources at work if it arises.
I am extremely frustrated at the lack of care and attention the administration is taking to the roads in the city. This defect is apparent, and easily fixable. Do we need to change the type of salt we use? Do we need to lower or sharpen the plow blades to make a cleaner pass? Or, more simply, do we need to replace the person in charge of these decisions?
Let me be clear: I have respect for the drivers who do the work of snow removal. I am sure they do their best and leave their families in treacherous conditions. The issue is not the drivers. The issue is administration. The drivers’ direction and supervision apparently lacks.
The slush that remains in front of the post office, on main roads, and main streets is unacceptable. This is day three of this storm. Other cities have had no issue making their “passes” and routes timely. Why are we? This is no longer frozen ice. This is merely neglected slush.
I hope you will assist me in identifying the defect and fixing it. I will not go another winter like this.