PITTSTON — Little by little, Main Street in Pittston is getting smaller — from all the snow, that is.
With the recent snow accumulations in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the frigid cold temperatures, city workers are struggling to keep up with the wintry mess. The road itself, of course, is clear. That’s not the case for street parking and several areas of side walks.
City Administrator Joe Moskowitz said the Public Works Department is scheduled to clear the downtown of snow starting at 5 a.m. on Sunday. Unfortunately, Moskowitz said, it keeps snowing.
“This is one of those times of winter that is very difficult because it doesn’t stop,” he said. “It really drains the resources.”
One of the hardest parts for Moskowitz and the city was to figure out when a good time to get in there with the crew and take care of the snow. Main Street is constantly riddled with cars and pedestrians. However, 5 a.m. on Sunday seems to be the best bet, Moskowitz said.
Because snow has been falling in the evening and overnight the past few weeks, workers have been pressed into multiple overtime shifts. That’s straining resources, Moskowitz said.
Also, officials can’t neglect the rest of the city to make sure downtown is clean.
“We can’t let go of the other areas of the city,” he said. “I understand anyone that is a business owner down there might be frustrated. But the Public Works Department has been downtown.”
The Public Works Department isn’t just in charge of snow removal. There are several other jobs they do to keep the city up and running, including refuse removal.
The first priority for the city is snow removal, then it comes garbage and recycling. Moskowitz said some recycling might be left out an extra day or two to get a jump start on the snow removal.
Main Street Manager Rose Randazzo said this is a record February for snow fall already and the month is just getting started. The Pittston City St. Patrick’s Parade is just a month away. The city might have to schedule another day to clean up if snow keeps hitting the area.
Moskowitz said that will be priority once it gets closer. With 10,000 people downtown for the parade, they have to clear the snow, he said. That all depends on, however, if there are enough resources for the city.
“These guys are human,” Moskowitz said of the Public Works Department. “How much can you ask them to do? What are the parameters to provide these services?”
It was an easy choice for Moskowitz to get his team downtown this weekend. Overtime or not, it’s something that had to be done.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to pay overtime,” he said. “But we need to provide safe, passable streets.”