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Oct 26, 2011 8:25 PM by Andy Koen

Private plowing experiment may spur job growth

In the winter, there's not much landscaping work for Judd Bryarly and his employees at Timberline Landscaping to do. Instead, the company vice president and operations manager says this time of year they equip their trucks for snow removal.

"I think snow removal is about a quarter of our business right now and it's grown a little over the past 10 years."

Timberline clears the parking lots of snow and ice for about 100 commercial clients. Bryarly they're hoping to add one more client next week, the City of Colorado Springs.

Mayor Steve Bach has asked that a request for proposal be issued seeking bids from local contractors like Bryarly to help plow neighborhood streets this winter. He came up with the idea after a successful experiment using contractors to mow grass and maintain parks during the summer.

"We've got to be smarter and leaner in some ways," Bach said. "We're going to have limited financial resources going forward, so, we need to try lots of different ideas."

He says it's too expensive to expand the streets department to more adequately plow neighborhoods.

"The capital cost is very high to replace vehicles and all the things we'd have to do and the private sector already has all that."

For now, they're limiting the contracts to just clearing the neighborhood streets in Brairgate as a trial run. Limited as it is, Bryarly says the move could spur job growth in the community.

"It could definitely create jobs for us, create opportunities that we haven't seen before and it can create for other companies as well."

Bach says if the project is successful, then he will consider expanding it to other neighborhoods next year.

In the meantime, the city's trucks and drivers will continue to focus on the plowing major roads. The bidding process should begin next week and Bach wants to have contractors hired and ready for work by December 1.

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