While snowstorms can bring smiles to the faces of some thinking of the fun times ahead, for others it can create intense worry over how they will clear a path to their home and remove potentially dangerous ice from their sidewalks.
Hoping to alleviate the concern, the Town Council is moving quickly to establish an army of “snow angels.”
"We have a number of individuals we know are challenged who could use that kind of help," Dennis Sheridan, the town’s human services director told the Town Council Monday night.
The snow angels group, intially proposed by Councilor Saud Anwar in December 2012 during the discussion to increase the numbers of sidewalks in town, would consist of volunteers who span out throughout the town after inclement weather has passed to help those in need clear the sidewalks that run along the front of their properties.
The Department of Human Services would oversee its coordination.
To be eligible for program, Sheridan says homeowners should be at least 60-years-old and/or have a disability that prevents them from being able to maintain their own sidewalks post-storm.
"We're really trying to find the folks who are in the most need here," he said.
A slight hiccup in the discussion last night occurred when Department of Recreation Director Ray Favreay proposed that town employees might serve as a volunteer "Plan B." Councilor Jan Snyder immediately said that people might have concerns about town employees being paid to clear private homeowners’ sidewalks.
Even if only a Plan B, Snyder said that "we're still using the taxpayers' dollars; setting a huge precedent.”
“I think it's opening up a huge can of worms - we need to get a real push for volunteers," she said.
Sheridan doesn't expect to have to use the public works employees, though.
"It's a tremendously giving community," he said. "We have 160 volunteers in the Human Services Department."
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, or in obtaining this kind of assistance, contact Human Services at (860) 648-6361. Sheridan expects volunteer applications to be available within the next two weeks, hopefully before the next snowstorm.
Correction: The original article quoted Michael Gantick, director of the department of public works, as proposing the "Plan B." The comment was made by Ray Favreau. South Windsor Patch regrets the error.