ReLeaf program takes center stage even with possible snow
After one of the warmest autumns on record across Michiana, many of the leaves are just now falling to the ground or in many cases still on the trees themselves.
That will likely change over the next couple of days as a strong fall system pushes through the area.
For households in South Bend, the litany of leaves means the city's ReLeaf pickup program will take center stage.
So far, the collections have been pretty light. And, with snow possible soon, some are fearing the pickup program could basically be over before it even really began this year.
Fortunately, officials say snow does impact the city's ReLeaf efforts, but a light dusting like what's expected this weekend won't change much.
“This weekend, we’re not too concerned with having any issues picking up on Monday, even though there may be a little bit of snow,” Director of Public Works for the City of South Bend Eric Horvath explained.
Officials said early season snowfall can be a major headache, not only because they have to transition trucks from fall leaf pickup to snow removal, but also because crews can't pull double duty.
“The same crews that are doing the snow plowing are also doing leaf pickup,” Horvath said. “If we do get an accumulation of 2-3”, we’ll have to pull guys off of leaf pickup and put them on plowing the roads.”
Horvath said at least at the city level in the Street Department, they are not concerned right now about any staffing issues related to the nationwide worker shortage. Crews are on call Saturday and Sunday just in case any spots do see plowable snow.
Despite temperatures likely falling a few degrees below freezing this weekend, Horvath said the city's leaf collecting machines can usually break through a light freeze and continue pickups if only the top layer of leaves gets icy.
For dates and more information on South Bend's ReLeaf program, click here.