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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City of Springfield is celebrating National Public Works Week May 17-23 by highlighting public works professionals, infrastructure and services vital to maintaining public health, quality of life and well-being of Springfield.
“The Rhythm of Public Works” is the theme for 2020’s National Public Works Week, reflecting Public Works’ contribution to a community’s rhythm through providing a well-orchestrated composition of essential infrastructure services in transportation, wastewater, stormwater, public buildings and spaces, emergency management, solid waste and right-of-way maintenance. Public Works provides the backbeat and harmony needed for collaboration with all the stakeholders in capital projects, infrastructure solutions and quality of life services.
“Public works functions are vital to the sustainability and resiliency of our community,” explains Public Works Director Dan Smith. “Now, more than ever, citizens are depending on Springfield’s infrastructure to remain safe and healthy in their homes. They are relying on our roadways to access essential services and they are expecting our infrastructure to be ready to support the economy as it gets moving again. I commend Public Works and Environmental Services department staff for their dedication and service.”
In Springfield, traditional Public Works responsibilities are split between the departments of Public Works and Environmental Services, both of which have been challenged to adapt operations during the COVID-19 threat.
“The current COVID-19 crisis has served to highlight the critical nature of the work our employees do every day,” says Environmental Services Director Errin Kemper. “Regardless of what is happening in the world, our citizens need reliable sewer and solid waste services in order to meet their most fundamental needs. I couldn’t be more impressed with the dedication exhibited by our employees at this time.”
In recent weeks, Environmental Services has managed the reopening of its recycling centers, handling nearly twice the normal volume of visitors and materials. The departments’ Sewer Maintenance and Wastewater Treatment staff have also removed nearly double the amount of cleansing wipes from sewer mains and treatment plant equipment throughout the pandemic.
The Public Works Department has also shifted operations in order to address safety of staff and continuity of services during the crisis, on top of also taking advantage of lower traffic on City streets.
“The reduction in traffic at this time has afforded our crews and contractors a unique opportunity to conduct roadway maintenance faster, safer and with much less impact to businesses and the traveling public,” explains Smith.
Twelve lane miles of pavement was recently rehabilitated in downtown Springfield and the surrounding roadways as pavement overlay contracts were accelerated in order to take advantage of the reduction in traffic and parking needs in one of the City’s busiest areas.
“Public Works Week is dedicated to recognizing an extraordinary group of professionals who dedicate their lives maintaining services we often take for granted,” continues Kemper. “Under whatever circumstances come our way, these folks rise to the occasion, ready to respond and serve.”
About Springfield Public Works and Environmental Services
Springfield’s Public Works Department manages more than 1,700 lane miles of roadways, 140 traffic signals and 38,000 traffic and street signs while also managing Hazelwood Municipal Cemetery and caring for the urban tree canopy.
The city’s Environmental Services department is in charge of more than 1,200 miles of sanitary sewers, guiding wastewater to the city’s two treatment plants which process an average of 40 million gallons per day. Environmental Services staff also manage the region’s solid waste landfill as well as recycling programs, air quality control and environmental compliance activities.
Both departments have long held a reputation for leadership, innovation and environmental stewardship.
In 2017, Public Works and Environmental Services collectively achieved reaccreditation from the American Public Works Association (APWA) – achieving 100% compliance. The reaccreditation certifies the departments met all requirements of the best management practices established nationally in the public works industry. Only 1% of communities across the country have attained this distinction. Springfield Public Works and Environmental Services first achieved accreditation by APWA in June 2013.
About National Public Works Week
Since 1960, the American Public Works Association has sponsored National Public Works Week as a way to energize and educate the public on the importance of the contribution of public works to their daily lives.
“Every year National Public Works Week gets bigger and better. The number of participating municipalities continues to grow, which means the number of citizens who are exposed to the value of public works grows. At APWA, one of our main goals is to educate the general public about the value and necessities of public works projects throughout North America, and public works professionals are our best ambassadors,” according to apwa.net.
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For more information, contact Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam at 573-819-3713 or [email protected].