Asheville’s Public Works crews hit the streets, get the job done

They fix and sweep our streets, lay our sidewalks and plow our roads while the rest of us take a snow day. They collect our garbage, keep trees healthy and clean our public buildings of graffiti. They restore our streams, prepare the city when flooding is expected, and find ways to reduce the impacts of stormwater on our infrastructure.

Employees in the City of Asheville Public Works Department are very, very busy, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This week is National Public Works Week, and the City joins the nation in taking a moment to recognize the often-unsung heroes of our society — professionals who serve the public good every day with quiet dedication. So quietly, in fact, that residents don’t always realize how much their communities depend on Public Works to build and maintain the infrastructure we use every day.

“The men and women of the profession are always there and always ready,” Public Works Director Greg Shuler said of the 120-plus employees in the department.

That became even more evident in the past month when, in anticipation of Public Works Week, staff visited schools to educate kids on the work they do. Business Manager Jakob Klodt and Sanitation Division employee Sonja Kun shared information about their work at Jones Elementary’s Career Day; meanwhile, Stormwater Division’s Justin Boll and Bobby Austin joined Street Division employee Mark Foster to bring a vacuum truck and a bucket truck to Haw Creek Elementary School. Above and beyond is just another day at the “office” for the City of Asheville’s committed Public Works team.

“Please join me in celebrating the hard-working men and women that do what it takes to make many of our City’s core services happen every day and night,” Shuler said. “During this nationally recognized week, the City is pleased to honor their dedicated work on behalf of our citizens.”

City Council officially recognized National Public Works Week with a proclamation at its May 10 meeting.