Carys Arnold, a fifth grader at Switzer Elementary School, had her design chosen to be painted on the snowplow.

Carys Arnold, a fifth grader at Switzer Elementary School, had her design chosen to be painted on the snowplow.

Photos provided by Eric Dimoff


Shelby school, Macomb County team up to ‘paint the plow’

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 2, 2019

Photo provided by Eric Dimoff

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Macomb County Department of Roads is gearing up for winter operations with new equipment.

The department teamed up with students at Switzer Elementary School in Shelby Township to decorate one of the department’s new snowplows ahead of the winter season, and together they debuted the new plow Nov. 19.

Students at Switzer Elementary previously had been given a template and drew ideas as to what they would like to see put on a plow.

The Macomb County Department of Roads then selected a student’s drawing of the abominable snowman out of all the entries.

The student who drew the design was Carys Arnold, a fifth grader in art teacher Rebecca Wennerstrom’s class.

Arnold said the reason that she chose to draw the abominable snowman was because of her friend.

“My best friend, Samantha, was just telling me she saw the movie ‘Abominable Snowman,’ and so when Mrs. W told me about the contest, I immediately thought of snow, winter and all the shades of blue. Then it all started coming together, and it turned out great,” said Arnold.

The abominable snowman is a folklore creature that is taller than an average human and is said to inhabit the Himalayan Mountains. An animated movie, “Abominable,” based on this character, came out in September.

Wennerstrom’s fifth grade and sixth grade art students took turns painting the artwork onto the plow. They finished the work Nov. 8.

When the project was complete, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and the Macomb County Department of Roads unveiled the freshly painted snowplow artwork and highlighted Macomb County’s winter readiness, operations and equipment at the school Nov. 19. Bryan Santo, the director of the Macomb County Department of Roads; Dr. Christine Johns, the superintendent of Utica Community Schools; and Switzer Elementary School students attended the unveiling.

Johns noted that UCS recently had a snow day.

“If it wasn’t for the road commission, we would not have had school the next day. We appreciate this partnership, their ongoing community communication with us, and their commitment to keeping our community safe,” she said.

Johns also acknowledged the commitment and dedication of Wennerstrom and the UCS staff.

“This is a great opportunity that speaks to the great artwork that our students do. The art program is strong in Utica Community Schools,” Johns said.

The MCDR is ready for the ice, snow and winter weather. The department has expanded its truck fleet with 101 snowplows, salt trucks and graders.

Of the more than 4,045 miles of roadway in Macomb County, the MCDR is responsible for the maintenance of 1,773 miles of county roads and more than 1,100 miles of subdivision roads. The department currently has 129 maintenance employees dedicated to keeping the roads clear.

On average, according to a press release, the MCDR uses more than 57,000 tons of salt each winter.

In 2018, the MCDR spent $8,624,909.93 on winter maintenance for primary, local and state roads.

The department asks that drivers remain alert during and immediately following winter weather and strongly encourages them to drive for the conditions while also giving snowplows plenty of room to safely clear the roads.

The MCDR recently purchased several tandem-axle, single-axle and semi-trucks that will be delivered to Macomb County’s service centers in Washington Township, New Haven, Clinton Township and Shelby Township for the upcoming winter season.

The department has an annual average budget of $4 million to keep the fleet on the road and up to date with technology and equipment.

For more information from the Department of Roads, follow the MCDR on Facebook or visit roads.macombgov.org.