Warm winter saving city money

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OKLAHOMA CITY — This year’s January, the warmest since 2006, is saving many cities big bucks, especially compared to last year. Remember, a year ago Wednesday, a huge blizzard dumped a foot of snow on the metro.

One of the big winners of this year’s warm temperatures is construction crews.

They’ve been able to work virtually without interruption this winter.

Yet not everyone is cashing in on the warm weather.

Plenty of winter supplies remain on the shelves at local hardware store, a far cry from last year.

“This year pales in comparison. With unseasonably warm weather, our sales are way down,” Wakelake Act Hardware employee Barry Roth said.

Barry says last year’s blizzard, a brutal mix of wind and snow, made it hard to keep snow gear in stock.

“We would get snow shovels in and maybe an hour later they’d all be gone,” Roth said.

On the other hand, the mild January was helping the city keep road projects all over town, especially downtown, on schedule.

“The warmer weather, as well as lack of precipitation, are both advantages to construction of roads in Oklahoma City,” Public Works Director Eric Wenger said. “We’ve had work virtually nonstop all winter thus far.”

Keeping snow plows parked this season is also saving the city lots of money.

“I mean, we obviously have a budget for snow and ice removal. We just haven’t had to engage that yet this year,” Wenger said.

“This year has been really good for us,” Lincoln Park golf pro Shannon Friday said.

Shannon says more golfers than normal are also taking to the links this January.

The mild winter has led to a thousand extra tee times at Lincoln Park alone.

“Usually there’s not much play this time of year, but this year there’s been a ton of it,” Friday said.

In addition to hardware stores, plumbers have had to fix fewer frozen pipes than last year.

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