Mayor thanks residents, organizations for assistance in ice storm
The recent ice storm is easily one of our city’s most challenging weather events. I can put it right up there with the snowstorm of ’78 and the flood of ’82. Once again, when Fort Wayne is faced with a challenge, it rises to the occasion.
With so many thousands of our residents braving the cold and battling the ice storm, I saw many instances of people and businesses reaching out, opening their doors, offering assistance in any way they can. I want to publicly thank all of the private citizens who have been working to help those impacted by the storm.
Some organizations that deserve special recognition for their communitywide response include Indiana Michigan Power, the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana, the staff of the War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne Community Schools and the staff of South Side High School, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne and so many more individuals, churches and businesses who helped their fellow citizens as thousands went without power and heat in freezing cold temperatures.
I also want to thank our City Council representatives, who’ve stepped up and offered some of their CEDIT allocations to be used for getting the clean up underway even quicker. Each district Councilperson and the at-large representatives have offered $5,000 to go for clean up. That’s $35,000 we will be able to use right away. Their leadership is much appreciated in this time of emergency response.
The Council’s allocation will go for contractors to begin cleaning up the branches and tree limbs that are down throughout Fort Wayne. The City has arranged for National Serv-All to place large, 40-yard containers throughout all four quadrants for residents who want to dispose of storm debris.
I cannot overlook the work of City employees including 911 dispatchers, 311 call takers, Public Works, Parks, Public Information and Neighborhood Advocates, City Utilities, Animal Care & Control, City-County Homeland Security, the Fort Wayne Fire Department and Fort Wayne Police Department. The ice storm caused departments across City government to step up and work overtime, just before the Christmas holiday, but we’re all working to restore Fort Wayne to pre-storm conditions.
I need to ask for your patience as we go forward with clean-up efforts across the city. Every quadrant of Fort Wayne suffered damage, often significant, from falling tree limbs. We are working hard to pick up tree branches and other debris, but we need your help and cooperation. The cleanup will take some time because of the volume of branches and we want to do a thorough job.
For trees in the park strip, City crews will pick up limbs. For tree branches from the yard, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to remove them. We have locations across Fort Wayne where you can drop off branches and debris. For a list, check the City’s website at www.cityoffortwayne.org or call 311.
If you haven’t already done so, move tree branches to the park strip for ongoing cleanup, and call 311 to report branches ready for pick-up. Our crews prioritized safety, clearing major roadways first and then neighborhood cleanup.
Parks, Public Works and City Utilities are working together to clear branches from roadways and pick-up the debris. Weather conditions will help to dictate the speed of cleanup.
Just as the ice and falling tree limbs took down power lines, the ice storm also damaged the City’s streetlights and overhead cables, including poles snapped off and broken fixtures. The City’s Streetlight Department made 319 ice-related street light runs over the five days following the storm.
Crews are working to make the locations safe, but residents can expect a large number of outages until repairs can be made. It could be 60 to 90 days before all lighting is restored. To report a damaged streetlight, call 311.
Natural disasters — floods, tornados, heavy thunderstorms, snowstorms or now ice storms — test the mettle of a community. I’m proud to be the mayor of a city with an unstoppable community spirit. As they said in 1982, Fort Wayne is the city that saved itself, but really it’s about our residents working to help each other. City government can’t do it alone. It’s only because of citizens like you who care about their neighbors and their community that we are able to achieve so much together.
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