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Peoria public works readies for another winter season

Wintry weather hasn’t descended on central Illinois as yet but Sie Maroon knows it’s coming.

The deputy director of the Peoria public works department said the city is ready when the snow starts flying.

“We’ve been working at it for the past month, getting trucks ready, materials ready so when it snows, we’re ready to go,” said Maroon.

Maroon has had plenty of experience when it comes to clearing the city roads. He’s spent 32 years working in the public works department and, in recent years, picked up the unofficial title of “snow czar” when it comes to planning efforts to keep Peoria roadways clear in winter months.

“Every snowstorm is unique in its own way even if similar when it comes to inches and temperature,” he said.

“The last few years we’ve actually had some milder winters with the exception of maybe a two-week period in that season when we got hit hard,” said Maroon, noting the biggest problem the department faces is having to contend with icy conditions.

“When we get into January and February when the temperatures really get cold by the time we get done doing our primary streets and we want to get to our residential streets, a lot of times (those streets) are already packed down and iced down,” he said.

“If we get a rainfall during the winter months that really puts it on us in a bad way. Ice is the worst thing to deal with,” said Maroon.

Snowfall, however, is an ever-changing variable. National Weather Service records indicate what a difference a year can make. In the month of January in 2013, for example, snowfall in Peoria amounted to less than a half-inch. The following year, 2014, January’s snowfall for the area topped 18 inches.

“Some years ago it snowed every weekend for seven weekends and nothing during the week. Everything’s a little different,” Maroon said.

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Steve Tarter retired from the Peoria Journal Star in 2019 after spending 20 years at the paper as both reporter and business editor.