It all started with the first real snow of the winter on Christmas Eve.
That snow caused dangerous road conditions and was quickly followed by a near-record-setting two weeks of Arctic-like temperatures. This past Sunday afternoon, as the cold snap finally lifted, freezing rain made travel extremely treacherous on area highways and local streets.
Throughout it all, Kendall County public works crews were once again out in force, clearing snow and salting roads, and repairing countless water main breaks during the worst of the cold snap. Perhaps you saw them down your street, bundled up, operating backhoes and other heavy equipment to make the necessary repairs.
We’ve long believed that public works crews at the municipal, township and county level are the unsung heroes of local government. This is not to take anything away from police and firefighter/paramedics who put their lives on the line every day they go off to work. But if it were not for the snow plow crews clearing and salting the roads during the worst of the winter storms, the police and firefighter/paramedics would not be able to reach those in need. And it’s many of these same public works crew members who are literally down in the trenches when the temperature is below zero repairing broken water mains to restore service to local residents and businesses.
Every year since 1960, the American Public Works Association has observed a week in May as National Public Works Week. The APWA states rather hopefully on its website that “every year National Public Works Week gets bigger and better. The number of participating municipalities continues to grow, which means the number of citizens who are exposed to the value of public works grows.”
We hope that the APWA is correct and more citizens right here in Kendall County are coming to appreciate the hard work and long hours that so many public works crew members put in to keep our communities functioning, especially in the worst of weather conditions.