County offices closed; city offices remain open

Published 12:34 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2009

County offices and the Hormel Nature Center are closed, but city offices — and the Austin Public Library — are open currently despite the weather.

A snow emergency is also in effect for the next 72 hours, meaning motorists should follow “calendar parking” — parking on the odd side of the street on odd days, even side on even days.

However, downtown parking will be completely prohibited starting at 1 a.m. and going until 8 a.m. Cars left in the area will be towed.

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So far, one car has been towed during the storm, police chief Paul Philipp said. That vehicle was left abandoned in an intersection.

Midtown Auto Clinic, located at 1400 10th Drive SE, is handling the towing for the city. Owner Steve Sollie said six trucks are ready if need be for tonight, when the downtown restriction begins, but two or three trucks will likely be enough.

Cars will be towed to Midtown, and retrieving a vehicle will cost between $85 and $150, Sollie said.

The owner said he and his staff don’t like towing people’s cars, but he advised motorists to be aware of any parking restrictions in place.

“During the first snowfall, we tell people to get educated (about snow emergency parking),” Sollie said.

He said he expects a “fair” number of cars to be towed tonight.

“I think there will be a few tonight,” Sollie said.

City engineer Jon Erichson said plowing has gone “quite well” Tuesday.

Roughly 20 plows and 30 workers cleared snow during the day on the even side of city streets. Erichson said crews will reassemble around 10 p.m. to work on downtown, and then will plow odd sides of the streets on Thursday.

There will be some final plowing done on Friday, but the city’s roadways should be good to go by the end of the week, the engineer said.

The library was able to open at its regular 10 a.m. time, but staff member Alice Hanson said she wasn’t sure if it would stay open until the usual 9 p.m. closing time.

The parks and recreation office is also open, but director Kim Underwood said tonight’s recreational events — like a public skate at Packer Arena — have been canceled, as have events that were scheduled at school buildings.

Austin area schools have canceled all activities and events tonight as well.