An Elgin resident is on a mission to change the city's practice of leaving some roads unplowed at Lords Park.
Right now, the city plows only the western end of the nearly circular road, but resident Mike Robins said the road on the eastern end of the park -- past the pool to the north and past a maintenance garage to the south -- should also be plowed.
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Public Works Superintendent Dan Rich said there is no real need to do that. He estimated the unplowed stretch is about ⅛ mile.
That allows people to better enjoy winter recreation sports at the park, while also limiting unlawful dumping of garbage inside the park, which increases in winter when it gets dark earlier, Rich said.
"We get 1,000 requests per year based on ice and snow removal," he said. "That particular area serves little public benefit."
But Robins, who walks his dog at the park, says residents should be able to use the park's roads year-round.
"(People) are irritated that they can't walk and exercise out here, and not walk their dogs and have use of the entire park," he said.
He's also seen cars attempt to navigate the unplowed stretches, he said.
The public works department hasn't received any complaints besides Robins', Rich said.
Robins said he's been contacting city council members with his complaint.
One of them, Councilwoman Tish Powell, was undecided about what to do.
"I want to talk to our staff and hear their side before I make a decision one way or the other," she said. "I want to see if we can't come to a happy medium, because a lot of times we can."
Robins also questioned whether the unplowed stretch would limit access to the park by the fire department. "There's going to be a liability issues if someone back there can't get medical assistance," he said.
All city ambulances have 4-wheel drive, and fire trucks "can travel through quite a bit of unplowed snow," Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy said
Also, a public works quick-response plow truck is available to help out in a pinch, Fahy said.