ABERDEEN, SD -
City leaders in Aberdeen are pleased with a mobile snow removal alert system it has in place; it’s similar to the one Sioux Falls announced Wednesday.
The Aberdeen system sends texts and e-mails to anyone who signs up for the free service. It's been around for a few years.
Getting text messages when plows come out and it's time to move cars off the street sounds like a good system to Northern State University student Eric Punt. He could see it being especially popular for people his age.
"Everyone has a cell phone and everyone texts and it's the quickest form of communication," Punt said.
But up to this point, he didn't know the service existed. Aberdeen Public Works Director Robin Bobzien says it has steadily gained popularity since the city launched the system in 2010.
"There are a lot of people that are using it and relying on it and I think they're finding it's a lot easier," Bobzien said.
At this point there are about 1,500 subscribers. Some get text messages, others e-mail alerts. More sign up each year, but participation wasn't as high as the City had hoped at first.
City employees advertised and mailed information to every home but still fell short of their goal to have 1,000 sign up the first year. Bobzien figures it might be different for any city launching the service now.
"It's just something that's become more common place with texting and I would guess it would have a lot more success now than when we first started," Bobzien said.
Still, each snow storm over the past few years has brought more awareness to the service and has led more people to sign up for it. Punt plans to join them.
"I've lived here for three years and so far haven't gotten a ticket so I hope I keep that streak up," Punt said.
A text could help that cause.
A radio station in Aberdeen offered electronic alerts for snow removal before the city. So leaders think some had already been signed up, just through a different source. So the concept might have been more successful the first year than it seemed.
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