Downtown Newark businesses frustrated with city snow removal

Snow accumulation on the edges of downtown Newark is hurting some local businesses.

In response to recent rainfall, city workers have been diligent in their efforts to remove snow and ice from area sidewalks. However, in turn, much of that snow and ice was dumped on curbs. Their accumulation has created dangerous parking and walking hazards for potential business customers.

“The city does a wonderful job of keeping the sidewalks clear. But it’s very difficult for my clients to get to our location from the parking lot,” said Tricia Robinson, owner of Healthy Trio Nutrition, located on W Main Street.

Newark, like much of the state, was battered by winter storm Landon last week which brought sleet and snow for two days. Rainfall mostly ceased over the weekend.

Asked if she thinks the issue has become a deterrent to customers entering her store, Robinson said an emphatic “yes.”

Brian Van Ness, owner of Keto Kafe on W Main St., expressed similar concerns.

“Our customers can’t overcome ice and snow,” Van Ness said. “People can’t get on the driveway (which leads to the store). It’s just a layer of ice, and it’s very high. We’re down in sales.”

The accumulation of snow creates a challenge for customers wishing to enter The Keto Kafe.

The hoarding-induced challenges aren’t unique to downtown businesses that offer walk-in services, like Robinson’s and Van Ness’s. Stephanie Green, owner of the Bellos salon on South 2nd Street, faces an operational struggle.

“For some clients, I have to pick them up from their car. It becomes a timing issue because I’m working on an appointment schedule,” Green said.

These owners struggled to reach people who could help solve the snow accumulation problem.

“When you need to find someone to talk to directly, they always seem to give you a sleight of hand,” Green said.

Unfortunately, hopes for an immediate solution seem dim. There is some discrepancy between municipal organizations as to who is responsible for clearing curbs.

According to Trish Newcomb, president of the Downtown Newark Association (DNA), the issue was brought up at a recent Special Improvements District meeting, but to no avail.

“There was no resolution,” Newcomb said.

Newcomb maintains that despite assertions made to him by the city council, DNA is not responsible for snow removal. On the contrary, “the City” must take care of this question.

Buster Prince, Superintendent of Newark Streets Division, denied this.

“I’ve been in the city for 35 years and (ploughing the curbs) has never been our position. I’m sure the companies would do it themselves or hire someone,” Prince said.

With snow showers forecast for Monday, the pressing problem may only continue for downtown businesses.

About Valerie Wilson

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