PARMA, Ohio — Plow companies across our Northeast Ohio are facing staffing shortages or are simply booked solid, and several cities with free snow removal service programs are already at capacity.
"It's been challenging the last week and then this week's storm to get into the neighborhoods and to get those cleared," said Mayor Tim Degeetr. "In Parma, we have over 500 miles of roads. So big snowstorms with 120 cul de sacs, it takes us a good 24 hours to clear the entire city."
Mayor Tim DeGeeter said city plow crews have been working diligently to clear snow.
"We have three shifts. We have service workers and plows out constantly around the clock on it, so there are no snowplows just sitting in the garage. They're out on the roads getting those streets cleared."
DeGeeter says the city does have a free snow removal program for senior citizens and disabled people, but said it's already at capacity. So they're relying on residents and businesses to do their part, and to be a good neighbor, especially when it comes to clearing sidewalks for kids to walk to school.
Currently, the city does have a parking ban in effect so plows can get through streets to clear the piling snow. But DeGeeter said since last week they've handed out around 200 citations to people disregarding the ban.
"We don't want to issue tickets. We want to get our snow cleared so our kids can go to school, folks can get up and go to work in the morning," he said.
In Lakewood, the non-profit LakewoodAlive is also maximizing its shoveling program.
"In the last week, basically, we've cleared 80 to 100 driveways with utilizing 30 volunteers, and we're at capacity right now," said Matt Clark with LakewoodAlive.
LakewoodAlive has been around for nearly 18 years. The nonprofit assists resident in a variety of areas from home repairs to painting to shoveling snow. But staff with the organization said their waiting list for snow removal is growing by the day.
"We have about 40 people on a waiting list right now who are just in desperate need of assistance," said staffer Allison Urbanek. "So anyone who wants to just give 20 to 30 minutes every snow and help out with a driveway will really make a big impact here in the community."
LakewoodAlive's policy is if there are at least two inches of snow on the ground, they'll be at your house within 24 hours. Now, they're asking for help - either with volunteers or even by just helping those who may live on either side of you.
"The community response that we've had, even with the constant snow that we're having right now, it's been it's been amazing," said Clark.
If you need help with snow removal and can't afford a service, check your city's department of aging or local United Way about any programs or organizations they might be able to connect you with for help. In Akron, you can call 311 and in Greater Cleveland and Lorain you can dial 211.