Bring it on: Local communities ready for snow

Nov. 19—Dave Cook didn't have to check his phone messages to know Friday was going to be a busy day.

"When you get your first snowfall, people forget how to drive," Cook, owner of Dave's Towing in Sharon, said. "It doesn't matter if it's just a little bit of snow."

Mercer County caught a break Friday, when only a dusting of snow fell. The same local forecast continues over the weekend.

Motorists will see far more PennDOT salt trucks this weekend in Erie. The city is expecting to get dumped upon with up to a foot of snow, and there's a good chance much of Crawford County will see hefty amounts as well.

PennDOT crews in Mercer County and other regions will pitch in to help plow streets and major highways if needed.

"We focus on helping each other out," Michael Lumberton, PennDOT's assistant Mercer County manager said. "We already have contingency plans to help Erie County and Crawford County."

Lumberton said PennDOT is well stocked with salt and anti-skid materials to handle any immediate snow onslaught.

"We have plenty of material," he said.

Another bonus, he said, is that the cost of salt is down a bit from last year.

Local communities are reporting they have street supplies ready when needed.

Sharon has a full supply of salt, said Bob Fiscus, Sharon's city manager.

The city also is being more proactive this year in reminding property owners to shovel their sidewalks, Fiscus said. The city requires property owners to keep their sidewalks clear.

"I think this is recognized it's something we can do better at," Fiscus said about clear sidewalks. "We have to have those conversations with people."

In eastern Mercer County, Grove City is ready for snow.

"Our storage barn is filled to capacity with salt," said Vance Oakes, Grove City's borough manager.

A borough ordinance requires property owners to keep their sidewalks clear. Those neglecting to shovel their sidewalks will hear from the borough, Oakes said.

Those scufflaws will get a notice from the town's code enforcement officer. If they still don't comply, a borough employee will do it for them.

But here's where the ordinance has teeth.

"The property owner will be charged for the employee's time plus a 10 percent penalty," Oakes said.

Repeat offenders can face a district judge who can pile on more fines.

"There's real incentives for people to shovel their sidewalks," he said.