By Yadira Betances
---- — LAWRENCE — The City’s Department of Public Works hit the road at 3 a.m. yesterday.
“We brought the equipment in stages and became fully operational by 3 p.m.,” said DPW director John Isensee. “Our first order of business are the roads, municipal parking lots, sidewalks and alley ways,” he said.
Isensee said all 80 pieces of snow removal equipment and 100 DPW workers were out making sure the city’s 612 streets, parks and 70 alleyways were cleared.
“We’re preparing for the worst and we’re always trying to do the best job we can. We’re prepared and the guys know what to do,” Isensee said.
While the forecast called for 12 inches of snow, he expected the cleanup to be a little easier because schools were out for Christmas vacation.
Another thing that helped was the new trash pickup where instead of it being collected on one single day, it is done by neighborhoods on different days.
Personnel Director Frank Bonet sent an email to city workers on behalf of outgoing Mayor William Lantigua allowing “non-essential staff to immediately depart for the day” due to the severe weather conditions.
Critical and essential staff remained at City Hall yesterday. In the memo, Bonet said an update will be provided regarding operations for today as the road conditions are assessed during the storm.
Meanwhile, soup kitchens that feed the needy and homeless were open.
“We stay open regardless of weather,” said Jessica Molignano of Bread and Roses Soup Kitchen. “We want to make sure we are here for anyone who needs a meal. We’re not open Fridays and we don’t want our guests to go without a meal for two days,” Molignano said.