Big trucks mean big fun for families

rpulley@lsjournal.comMay 19, 2017 

On a Lee’s Summit work day, you might see a hulking vacuum on wheels kicking up a plume of dust as it trundles down the street.

This Saturday you can give the street sweeper a close inspection and learn about other trucks and equipment used to keep Lee’s Summit clean and safe.

“Kid’s will be able to get in and pull the air horn and do all the other fun stuff with it,” said Bruce Taylor, a manager in the Public Works Operations Division.

The city’s annual Big Truck and Equipment Show is a free family event that will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 220 S.E. Green St., in front of City Hall. Billed as Big Trucks and Big Fun, the show is an opportunity to meet the people and examine the equipment of the City’s Public Works and Water Utilities Departments to help celebrate National Public Works Week.

Lee’s Summit police and fire department also will bring their equipment to the show, along with the 509th Civil Engineer Squadron from Whiteman Air Force Base that will bring the Bomb Squad Emergency Response Vehicle and the Mobile Emergency Operations Center.

The street sweeper is an example of ongoing programs that can go unnoticed by people busy in their day-to-day lives, but it provides a benefit that enhances their lives and the environment.

Lee’s Summit is a community of many lakes and ponds, and the machine helps clear debris off streets that otherwise would eventually be washed into the storm water system, which flows into the community’s waters.

“It prevents a lot of debris from reaching the lakes and ponds,” Taylor said.

The sweeper runs nearly every day, Taylor said, traveling about 10,000 miles in a year.

By getting debris off the street, the machine also helps prevent clogging of storm-water pipes. The department tries to cover every primary street at least four times a year, all the collector streets once a year and residential streets at least once a year.

Taylor said in 2015, the city did a little better, covering the primary routes seven times, five times in 2016 and so far this year, has swept the primary roads three times.

Taylor said the show is an opportunity to give the public important information as well as for youngsters to enjoy clambering on big trucks.

For example, the department encourages people to not pile or blow leaves or grass clippings onto the street, otherwise rain running off streets will carry the waste into the storm water system and can cause a clog.

The city has a replacement program that tracks the age and condition of its fleet of cars, trucks and other equipment. Each department sets aside a little of its budget each year so that when a truck like the sweeper needs to be replaced, there is money available. So the purchase of a new $316,000 sweeper to replace the 10-year-old vehicle will not cause a burden on the budget.

An array of activities throughout the day will include games, face-painting, a bounce house, raffles, prizes and demonstrations of equipment.

This year, in conjunction with the event, the Public Works and Water Utilities departments are collecting donations of non-perishable “kid-friendly food” for Lee’s Summit Social Services, to help stock the organization’s food pantry for the summer months.

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