At one time, New Bedford provided barrels of sand at strategic locations across the city for those in need during a snowstorm. Ah, the good old days. After announcing late last year that sand would no longer be available during the winter, the Mitchell Administration seems to have had a slight change of heart. 

During the recent Super Bowl Sunday snowstorm, barrels of sand were placed at three locations: the corner of Liberty Street and Smith Street; Brooklawn Park, next to the Brooklawn Senior Center; and the Morse Twist Drill site (on the Pleasant Street side).

That's nice, but what about the folks who live in the far South End and far North End of the city? Is it really such a chore to make sure that everyone has access to sand in their neighborhood?

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I asked Mayor Jon Micthell about his original decision to end the sand allotments. He said in addition to the cost to the city, the sand went mostly unused. So what? Those who needed it were certainly grateful for it. Sand doesn't spoil or anything. If it goes unused, it can always be hauled back to where we store the sand for use next winter. 

New Bedford requires property owners to clear sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses. That is a good thing. Just shoveling can leave sidewalks slippery and dangerous. Sand makes those sidewalks safer for folks to traverse on foot. It also helps with ice-covered driveways.

Asking the administration to return to the practice of supplying barrels of sand at locations throughout the city is not a big ask. It's a quality of life issue. For those who benefit from it, it is appreciated. 

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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