City seeks residents' help in keeping streets clean

COLUMBIA CITY — Two of Columbia City’s department heads are asking for help from residents to keep the town’s streets safe and clear for the remainder of the winter season.Tom LaRue, Columbia City’s fire chief said at Tuesday night’s meeting of the town’s Common Council that recent heavy snowfall could have covered fire hydrants.“If there’s a hydrant that you know of that is buried, we ask that you either uncover it or call the city so someone can come out and uncover it,” LaRue said.“We are carrying spade shovels in our trucks,” he added. “So we can do it if necessary but we’ll need to know where they are.”LaRue said residents who expose the hydrants themselves wouldn’t have to do a thorough job, just enough to make the fixture visible to firefighters.“Just uncover the cap of it at least,” LaRue said.Columbia City Mayor Jim Fleck showed concern for fire hydrants that might be buried under snow.“This is a safety issue,” he said. “Firemen need to know where they are.”Kelly Cearbaugh, Columbia City’s Street Superintendent, talked a bit Tuesday night about the city’s recent winter storm and how his department was affected.According to Cearbaugh, a problem area in the town for snow removal are cul-de-sacs, or rounded ends to roads in some developments.Cearbaugh said the configuration of the cul-de-sac provides unique challenges in terms of where to put the snow. He said in some cases, the only place to put the snow is up on the sidewalk.“If the people can be OK with the snow being up on the sidewalk for awhile, that might be the only alternative,” he said.Cearbaugh’s biggest concern, however, is the back streets of the city, where residents park on the side of the street.In cases where cars can park on either side of the street, Cearbaugh asks that residents be cognizant of how they park in relationship to other vehicles.“When people park straight across from other vehicles, it makes the street almost too narrow for us to work in,” said Cearbaugh.“So, if they can be aware of this and stagger their vehicles, that would help.”