McKINNEY -- The ice storm that put North Texans in a deep freeze occurred four weeks ago, but for McKinney residents, it’s an ordeal that may continue for another six-to-eight weeks.
The constant beeping and revving of tractor engines on any other holiday might be enough of a nuisance to have residents calling the city for relief. But instead, that sound is music to the ears of many in McKinney who, on New Year’s Day, are giving thanks.
"I’m glad to see these men working on a holiday, I sure am,” said McKinney resident Kitty Graves.
She watched from her driveway as a crew removed a six-foot high stack of tree limbs from her front parkway. It’s been nearly four weeks since those limbs - tens of thousands of them - broke away from their trees during one of the worst ice storms in recent memory.
Since that time, city crews have brought 200 loads of debris per day into the McKinney maintenance yard to be stacked, stored, shredded, and mulched. Despite that work - the twelve-hour days, with only Christmas off - more than half of what fell remains stacked on the sides of city streets.
“We had a lot of limbs go down on my block,” said McKinney resident Robert Ashcraft. “I think the city has been working hard to get it cleaned up, but I know they are way behind.”
McKinney’s Interim Public Works Director Paul Sparkman is the first to admit there is more work to be done.
“We do have a few citizens that are becoming a little bit frustrated with the length of time it’s taking,” Sparkman said. “And while we certainly would like to get everybody at one time, it’s just not possible.”
Sparkman said this is the most extensive storm damage he’s seen in his 25 years with the city.
City worker A.J. Arps said he gladly gave up his holiday to help get the streets cleared of debris.
“I don’t mind working on New Year’s Day,” Arps said. “Besides, I really don’t like college football. The NFL is my game.”