Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
A survey on downtown snow shoveling garnered a low response,
Amy Nasta, deputy city manager, said the city had only received eight responses from the November 3 snow removal survey, and 50 percent wanted to keep the 48 hour time frame in place because of the timing of storms happening outside business hours throughout the winter season. 75 percent had not made snow removal arrangements, she said.
Traditionally Gardner has kept downtown walkways clear to facilitate pedestrian traffic, but in 2016 a sidewalk ordinance was passed requiring all properties keep walkways clear. However, the city has continued to clear snow until this year when the Gardner Chamber of Commerce notified members Gardner would no longer clear the area.
Shute said they would keep the time frame and look at businesses partnering together, but he was disappointed in the low survey response. The survey was prepared by city staff and sent to member businesses by the chamber
“From the stand point of policy it is difficult to make policy when only eight respond,” he said. “The issue is how to pay.”
Mark Baldwin, council vice president, said the survey wasn’t about how to pay for snow removal but the time frame about 48 hours. “They all must be happy with 48 hours,” he said..
Shute said they would have the chamber look at the snow removal cost.
Rich Melton, former council member, said the city should be careful about giving special favors to downtown businesses that the city wouldn’t do for residents.
Jim Pruetting, city manager, said they would continue to work with Jason Camis at the chamber. “We will help facilitate but the city won’t be responsible,” he said.

In other business:
Shute spoke about his time serving as Mayor.
“The next time I pick up and put the gavel down again will be my last time as mayor,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot and the last year and a half has been very tough with coronavirus.”
Shute said he couldn’t be more proud of the city staff’s tireless work efforts. “Over four years amazing things have happened in the community that couldn’t be done to our staff,” he said.
Shute said he was looking forward to working as a council member with newly elected Mayor Todd Winters. “We will keep Gardner moving and blazing new trails,” he said.
Shute thanked council member Randy Gregorcyk for his time on the dias and contribution to the city.
“And thank you to the community for letting me serve,” he said.