There are many departments that serve the public in the city of Steubenville. Much of the work performed by the maintenance and repair department is done in conjunction with, or in support of, these other city departments. An example of this is the upgrading and modernizing of all the city-owned street lights and traffic signals with LED technology.
The idea originated with the finance department in 2009 by locating and securing grant funding to make it possible. The city's engineering department coordinated the design and engineering aspect of the project to obtain the materials. Now, M&R electricians are installing the equipment that will significantly reduce utility costs and substantially reduce maintenance and repair expenses associated with these systems.
You may have already noticed new street lights on state Route 7, Sunset Boulevard and in the Brady Avenue area. These lights display brighter, whiter light providing better visibility and improved public safety.
We will also soon see new LED countdown pedestrian signals at our intersections. This new equipment will display a descending numeric countdown to let those crossing the street know exactly how much time is left before the light changes color. This provides improved safety and added convenience for those crossing the street.
While it may be difficult to distinguish an LED traffic signal from a conventional one, we can take pride in the fact that the city is employing the latest technology and utilizing the most energy efficient equipment available.
The M&R department also works closely with the police department and the information technology department installing and maintaining a network of security cameras throughout the city in an effort to better serve and protect the public. It partners with the IT department to construct and maintain a fiberoptic network to connect city facilities and centralize telephone and computer communications.
We work very closely with the engineering department regarding street projects, maintenance of the traffic control system and other issues related to city infrastructure. We also respond to requests from the parks department for issues at the pool, ball fields and park facilities as well as the water department and wastewater department concerning lighting and electrical equipment at any of their multiple facilities. We coordinate with them in restoring streets when underground utilities must be exposed for repair. In short, the M&R department works with virtually every city department, in every city facility.
Other work performed on behalf of the public is done more directly. Garbage collection, snow plowing, pothole patching and maintaining and mowing city right-of-ways are probably the most familiar and occupy the majority of the department's efforts. Still, other perhaps less familiar contributions are being made as well. For example, Christmas decorations are displayed each year, electrical power is provided at Historic Fort Steuben for the Thursday concert series as well as in city parks for community events and celebrations.
The support of the community is vitally important to what we do. It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve this community, and I am proud to be associated with the people who do this meaningful work.
(Baird is superintendent of Steubenville's maintenance and repair department.)