Haverhill City Councilor Andy Vargas.
Although this may well be the last snow storm of the season, Councilor Andy Vargas launched his Haverhill Sidewalk Shoveling Squad Friday.
His plan aims to match volunteers willing to shovel with residents who are elderly or disabled and unable to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes. The idea came from the City Council’s review unplowed streets and sidewalks after the recent blizzard.
“I think it’s at least an opportunity to run a beta test to see how this works and, if it works well, then hopefully we can implement that year,” he said.
Ordinances require homeowners and businesses to clear snow from sidewalks in front of their properties. In some cases, however, the city’s public works department plows sidewalks as a “courtesy” for residents, but usually the day after a storm.
Vargas explained how an online form he created works. “When you fill out the form, it will give you a set of questions depending on who you are. So, if you’re a volunteer, it will ask you what time are you available, what’s your address, so that we can hopefully match people—volunteers—closest to the sidewalks or residents that are closest to them.”
The form is accessible from his and other Facebook pages and here.
Vargas said the concept is simple. “Letting us know if you need help and, if you’re willing to volunteer, then letting us know that too—just matching people up together—so it’s not a crazy or new idea. Other cities, I’m sure, have done this as well.”
For now, Vargas, himself, will match volunteers to those who need help by plotting the addresses of both on an online map.
Don’t have internet access? The councilor said you may call or text him directly at 978-228-1233 for help.
Contrary to usual snow parking rule, residents who park automobiles on the street must continue to park on the odd side of the street until 6 a.m., Sunday, April 2. Vehicles parked on the even side of the street will be ticketed and towed.
Haverhill’s Recycling Center also will be closed Saturday.