With a snow storm blowing through Western New York hours before the start of the March Madness tournament games in Buffalo, the city was rushing to clear streets and sidewalks to welcome thousands of anticipated visitors.
"We want to make sure we are rolling out the red carpet to visitors and to basketball fans," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Wednesday.
The City of Buffalo had 25 dedicated crews clearing snow on streets and sidewalks downtown Wednesday. Commissioner of Public Works Steven Stepniak said those crews would be working through the tournament games to make sure downtown Buffalo is walkable for out of town visitors.
"We want to make it walkable," he said. "We know all the great accesses and hotels we have now to stay downtown, where a lot of folks are going to be staying. They're going to probably be walking to the venue. That's what we're here to do and make sure that is accomplished."
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Buffalo Sabres VP of Administration Michael Gilbert said this snow storm was nothing out of the ordinary for his workers and they treated it similar to a snowy Sabres game they see several times each season.
"Our crews are out there moving the snow," Gilbert said. "They've been moving it for the past two days. The road out here is down to the cement. The city has been great plowing and everything. We're ready to go. There will be snow on the ground and snow in piles, but it won't inhibit anybody from coming to the games tomorrow."
As for the workers actually clearing the snow, Key Bank Center utility crew member Lou Rodriguez didn't think much of the snowfall.
"This is nothing," he said. "Oh yeah, this is nothing. It's only a few inches. I think the most we got here, I mean, even 5 or 6 inches is nothing for us. We're used to it."