On Centre | Around Bellefonte: Clearing sidewalks an expected chore

As snow covered Centre County on Monday, residents from all over donned their jackets and boots and participated in a time-honored activity that follows every snowfall — they shoveled their sidewalks.

And the residents of Bellefonte were no exception.

While the borough did the heavy lifting and cleared the main roads and thoroughfares through town, people took to the streets armed with shovels and snowblowers to keep the sidewalks safe for pedestrians.

Bellefonte resident Matthew Groce had just finished salting his walkway by evening before heading up South Allegheny Street for an evening out. He clears his own walkway and is paid to clear a portion of East Bishop Street, the courthouse and the walks of Allegheny as well.

Groce said he’d been out shoveling at least 10 times Monday and was not looking forward to the more snow, which is in the forecast for later in the week.

“I’ll be keeping busy for a while,” he said.

But this year’s snow isn’t as bad as last year, he said, when there was a sheet of ice below the white stuff. This year, snow was light and easy to shovel, he said.

He warned that driving through town was quite dangerous, as he said he had seen several near-accidents during his day outdoors.

“People who drive today, I hope they don’t get into a car accident,” he said. “The roads are deadly today.”

Farther up the road, along East Bishop Street, Joseph Baummer, of Penfield, was putting the finishing touches on the sidewalk in front of St. the John Evangelist Catholic School. As a maintenance man for the school and church, Baummer had been out since 6:30 a.m. Monday cleaning the sidewalks.

He said the snowplow makes short work of the snow, but having to clear the entire front walk, alleys along the church and all the sidewalks connecting the church, school and rectory make for a long day.

“It takes about three or four hours, depending on the depth,” he said.

Employees often find snow shoveling in their job descriptions as well.

Geoff Coonfield had just started his shift Monday evening at The Governor’s Pub on West High Street when he was tasked with clearing the walk along the front of the restaurant.

“I’m probably the only one who has the endurance to get it all out of here,” he said.

The pub makes it a point to keep the walks clear, even though the snow was probably going to chase away many of its usual customers.