We see the snow trucks clearing the roads during the winter and we drive past traffic lights and street signs but it is not until you get up close to these items that you discover just how big these items really are.
Wyoming and Kentwood residents will get that first-hand view of snow plows and other public works equipment as both the cities celebrate National Public Works Week with open houses.
In 1960, the American Public Works Association established National Public Works Week to create a better understand of the various responsibilities of a Public Works facility in maintaining the infrastructure of its community. This includes such areas as ground maintenance, sewer and water, potholes and road maintenance, and snowplowing to list a few of the many services provided by these departments.
“It is an opportunity for us to share what we do and to get information out to the people on the various items we take care, the water systems, the sewer system, the streets and all the details related,” said Kentwood Public Works Director John Gorney.
Kentwood is hosting its second National Public Works Week event Wednesday, May 17, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Kentwood Public Works building, located at 5069 Breton Rd. SE. Last year, about 400 people attended the first-ever event.
Again this year, the Kent County Road Commission and the Kent County Department of Public Works will join Kentwood’s Public Works event. Participants will have the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat of a plow, grader and other equipment. There will be live demonstrations about the maintenance and repair of water and sewer systems, along with information about the care and maintenance of the city roads. Residents will learn about the safe disposal of household waste. Free hotdogs and refreshments will be available.
The evening will include a proclamation by Kentwood Mayor Steven Kepley and the opportunity to meet local Public Works and Kent County Road Commission employees. During the event, the winners of the Work Zone Poster competition will be announced. The contest asked local third grade students to design a new Work Zone sign, and a gallery of all entries will be showcased at the event.
City of Wyoming
One of the oldest and longest running National Public Works Week event is hosted by the City of Wyoming, which is Monday, May 15, 5 – 8 p.m. at the Public Works Facility, 2660 Burlingame Ave. SW.
This is the 23rd year the City of Wyoming has hosted a National Public Works Week event with it becoming quite popular with residents showing up early and waiting for the event to start. Staff estimated about 1,800 people visited the facility within the three-hour time span last year.
During Wyoming’s event, various Public Works Department equipment will be on hand for people to explore along with a police cruiser and fire truck. Staff will be on hand to talk to visitors about equipment and projects as well as serving free beverages, chips, and, of course, hotdogs. The purpose of the event is to give the public a chance to ask questions, learn about what the Public Works Department is all about and the services the department provides, according to staff.
National Public Works Week this year is actually May 21 to May 27 and many local organizations, such as Wyoming and Kentwood, are hosting events. The City of Grandville will host a barbecue Wednesday, May 17, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the KDL Grandville branch, 4055 Maple St. SW. The City of East Grand Rapids will host its Touch-a-Truck event Wednesday, May 24, starting at 10 a.m. at the KDL East Grand Rapids branch, 750 Lakeside Dr. SE.