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Shovelers needed in Hagerstown

January 05, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The City of Hagerstown is seeking volunteers to shovel snow this winter for residents in need.

Cindy Blackstock, community development coordinator, said the Snow Removal Program, now in its third year, has never really taken off and is in the process "of falling flat."

"We never seem to have enough volunteers," Blackstock said. "We're trying to get a surplus in case an emergency presents itself."

Blackstock said the volunteers are needed to help residents who can't shovel their sidewalks to comply with the city sidewalk code.

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Chief Code Compliance Officer John Lestitian said residents usually have hours until after the last snowfall to clear their sidewalks before code compliance officers leave a notice. If the problem isn't abated within a few days, he said, the city will hire a contractor to remove the snow.

The contractor's fee, plus a $65 administrative fee, will be charged to the property owner, Lestitian said. Subsequent violations will carry the same fees, in addition to a $200 citation.

"Maintaining sidewalks is a safety issue," Lestitian said. "Help your neighbors. That's building community."

To be eligible to receive help from the Snow Removal Program, residents must meet the following criteria:

o Be the actual property owner

o Have a physical or mental condition that prohibits someone from shoveling snow

o Be financially unable to pay for the service

o Have no family, neighbors or friends who can assist

To volunteer for the City of Hagerstown's Snow Removal Program, call 301-739-8577, ext. 191.

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