Christmas Eve snow creates massive cleanup

Mike DonilaFun Outdoors

Cleanup, Cleanup, cleanup! That’s mostly what our folks in the Knox County Parks & Recreation and Engineering & Public Works (E&PW) departments have done for the past week. Road crews were called in Christmas Eve and worked throughout the night, salting, plowing and removing downed trees and fallen limbs.

“Our crews did an incredible job keeping the residents of Knox County safe over the holidays and keeping our county roads clear,” said Jim Snowden, senior director of E&PW. “I want to commend them for their hard work – especially during a time when they should have been at home with their families and friends.”

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs agreed and said he was impressed with their efforts.

“A big thank you to the crews at Engineering & Public Works who came in on Christmas Eve to clear the roads of snow, ice and trees, and continued working over the holiday weekend,” he said. “They worked tirelessly.”

On Monday, I spoke with Brad Warren, chief operations engineer for E&PW, and he said, “Given the snow, we’ve had our hands full with trees and ice and haven’t had an opportunity to do anything else. In events such as these, all we can do is clear the trees from the travel lanes, but we’ll be circling back to actually remove the debris from the right of way for weeks.”

To date, Warren said, the department has received more than 70 tree call-ins and more than 100 calls for ice removal.

“The actual number of trees we’ve removed is probably double the call-in amount, because we cut trees during our plowing routes as we came to them,” he added.

In addition, the folks in Parks and Rec also were busy, taking care of downed trees at House Mountain, Tommy Schumpert Park and the nearby Rifle Range AYSO Park. The department has done a great job overseeing the 22nd annual Holiday Festival of Lights at the Cove. The event, which kicked off earlier this month, concludes this Sunday, Jan. 3.

That’s the bad news. Because it’s such a great event, no one wants to see it end.

The good news? We’re coming close to breaking all fundraising efforts.

Last year, the event took in a record $7,677 and 12 barrels of donated non-perishable food items. As of Tuesday afternoon, the festival has raised $6,519 and close to 14 barrels of food! And we still have the weekend to go! As always, the event benefits the Love Kitchen, which provides meals, clothing and emergency food packages for the homebound, homeless and unemployed.

See you in 2021!

The photo carousel features the crews at work cleaning up after the Christmas Eve snow in Knox County

 Mike Donila is communications director for Knox County government.


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