South Bend pauses leaf pickup to prep for more snow

NOW: South Bend pauses leaf pickup to prep for more snow

SOUTH BEND, Ind., --- The city of South Bend temporarily paused its fall leaf pickup program to prepare for another round of snow, but the move has some residents concerned about the delay.

“I am a little frustrated, I think they get get out here,” said concerned resident John Dauss.

Dauss and his wife live in the Sunnyside neighborhood in South Bend.

They're among dozens of folks across the city who still haven’t had their leaves picked up yet this fall.

“It’s been up here for a couple weeks, this pile, obviously they’re soaking wet and when its wet it’s harder to pick up,” he added.

The leaf pick program has only been underway for about two weeks and the city still hasn’t made the first pass to several zones on its nine-zone pickup map.

Now Dauss is among many who will be waiting even longer for their leaves to be collected, with the South Bend’s Fall Releaf program on pause to prepare for another round of snow.

“We’ve had to get our trucks ready to start doing plowing operations obviously that comes first and foremost to make sure that the roads are safe for traveling public,” said South Bend Public Works Director Eric Horvath.

Horvath said the same trucks used to pick up leaves are converted into snowplows. A process that takes hours for just one truck.

“We have to take those leaf boxes off and then put the new stuff in that will hold the salt and the spreaders and that’s a couple hour process per truck. So, we have about 40 of those trucks that we need to convert over. In addition, then we’ve got another 20 front smaller plow trucks as well,” explained Horvath.

While the city gets ready for snow, residents like Dauss said they’re concerned about what could happen to the leaves when the snow hits hard.

“It’s a hazard…they’re going to be plowed up on people’s yards and then it's going to freeze on your sidewalks. You’re supposed to be able to walk on your sidewalk and you’re going to trip over the leaves,” he said. “If they would just pick them up, I would be very happy.”

Amid the uncertainty now surrounding leaf pickup Horvath asked for patience in the meantime.

“We will get to them; we just need the weather to turn for us. The leaves are frozen at this time so it’s very difficult not only on the crews in handling them, but it could damage the machines. We do expect to jump back on it here as soon as the weather turns.”

The city said they’re fully staffed this season with around 67 crew members, and they are prepared to continue leaf pickup well into December if weather permits.

They plan to release a new leaf pickup schedule next week.

Here’s more information about zones and pickup details.

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