Greencastle-Antrim worked its way out of the snow

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Two-year-old Kash Kinzer considers the mound of snow left on East Baltimore Street Tuesday afternoon while he helped his Dad clear the sidewalk.

Winter Storm Jonas left a white blanket, make that super fluffy comforter, on the area Jan. 22 and 23, but now Greencastle is stripping off the covers to get back to normal.

Public and private plows and snowblowers were out in force over the weekend, clearing 22 inches of snow, which settled much deeper in some locations.

Antrim Township crews started out on the 111 miles of roads at 10 p.m. Friday. Due to weather conditions, with the snow falling steadily and visibility minimal, the trucks were pulled at 1:30 a.m. Antrim administrator Brad Graham reported that some of the 11 drivers essentially lived in the municipal building over the weekend.

After five hours of sleep in Camp Condo, named after roadmaster Mike Condo, the men left their cots to attack the roads again. Some were behind the wheel for 10 or 12 hours at a shot on Sunday and Monday. A road grader that had not been used for plowing for 20 years was put into service and performed well. A “V” plow had also been stored for a decade, but was able to break the snow on untouched rural roads that the straight plows could not handle.

“It went very smoothly,” Graham said. “One truck had a major breakdown. But the crew had a great attitude. There was no hesitation, and very little grumbling because of the long hours and frustrations.”

The residents expressed their gratitude for the work under unusual circumstances, with some bringing treats to the office, and others handing them out to the drivers on the job. The township continued cleanup on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Borough of Greencastle uncovered 14 miles of streets, and the entire public works department of four people put in 11 and 12 hour shifts for the job. The borough also hired subcontractors to help with plowing alleys and the downtown. The staff of two from the sewer plant also took to the road to help widen the streets.

“We were initially pleased with the one lane of travel on most streets,” Greencastle manager Susan Armstrong said.

By Tuesday, the focus switched to getting to the curbs. The first streets on the list were the busiest and narrowest, Madison, Ridge, then Addison, North Washington and both ends of Linden. Subcontractors took on Franklin and Dahlgren.  Tight intersections were also tackled. Baltimore and Antrim Way were handled by PennDOT.

Armstrong said the public was patient and understanding. Her staff was tired.

“They have handled this with the utmost professionalsim.”

She asked residents, if possible, to clear fire hydrants and storm drains near their properties. The borough extended its deadline on shoveling sidewalks until Friday, recognizing this was a “huge snow event.”

Business as usual

Nearly every local business was closed on Saturday as the snow fell steadily into the evening. On Monday several did as much as they were able, depending on who could get in to work.

Greencastle postmaster James Pasqualini dispatched the carriers. They encountered blocked roads and mailboxes, but delivered what they could. They brought back 1,800 pieces, which were added to Tuesday’s load.

“They are troopers,” Pasqualini said of his employees. “They take care of their customers. In hardships like this, they all band together and do a great job.”

Jan Martin opened his store, ELM Department Store, but was the only one working. He assisted four customers and met with two sales representatives. Center Square was snowed in at the four corners, though state road Baltimore Street and borough road Carlisle Street were open for traffic.

“We cleared out one parking space between here and the shoe store,” said Martin. “It got used up one at a time.”

On Tuesday a few more customers came in to shop, but it was still fairly slow, he said.

Across Carlisle Street, BB&T Bank was closed Monday. Its two parking lots were untouched. All BB&T banks in Franklin and Adams counties were closed that day, said David White, vice president for corporate communications.

“Snow removal was a big issue,” he said. “Our number one priority is to get them cleared for our clients.”

The banks were open on Tuesday.

First National Bank of Mercersburg, 821 S. Washington St. extended, opened late on Monday and had normal hours the next day.

President and CEO Bob Fignar said, “We take seriously our obligation to provide service to the public without endangering our employees or customers.”

Only a few visited the Greencastle branch each day.

Orrstown Bank, 308 Carolle St., opened late and closed early Monday. The contracted plowing company spent part of three days clearing the site.

“The parking lot feels claustrophobic,” said branch manager Rachel Grimm of the five foot piles.

The early part of the week was also slow for them, with just regular customers making the effort to get in.

Greencastle-Antrim School District called for three snowdays. By Wednesday, not all of the country roads had two lanes opened for traffic, said superintendent Greg Hoover. In addition, the snowbanks in developments made it unsafe for kids to be waiting at corners. Also, buses couldn’t turn around in the cul-de-sacs.

“It was a once in a lifetime snowstorm,” he said. “We need to get rid of the snow.”

The campus parking lots were ready for vehicles, having been plowed by a sub-contractor. School makeup days will be Feb. 12, March 24 and May 31.