P3PPY Dork
7/19/22 10:32 p.m.

It doesn't get more grassroots than mowing, right? Ha?

In 2020 I published my missive about purchasing a zero turn mower for the church. Buy a Ferris. You can read the train of thought here. Well, two years later it's still great. However, due to circumstances that anger me, the church's plow truck may not be the church's much longer. This, in addition to the fact that we need to keep a few hundred feet of sidewalk cleared off has led us to looking for another tool.

Right now we have a barely used Ferris ISX800 for the lawn, a mid 2000s Chevy 4x4 plow truck, and a mostly worthless snowblower for a couple hundred feet of sidewalk that gets overrun by the thick, heavy slush from the industrial street plows.

We definitely want a better tool for plowing the sidewalk. It wasn't ideal to use the plow truck on it. Now the plow truck may be going away soon, anyway. Instead of blindly purchasing like for like and replacing the truck, I'd like to see if there's something we could use for plowing a sidewalk that would also be good for plowing a 100' drive and a few thousand square feet of parking lot.

- if we keep the Ferris, and look for a snow-only tool, we **may** have like $3k? Dunno. Still in the research phase of this one. We "should" still have $5k from the insurance payout from the one that caught on fire, but it's a poor church so that money is probably long gone.

- if we sell the Ferris to get a snow + mow tool I expect we could get our whole $8k purchase price out of it. It's in great shape and has been used like 20 hours. So $8-10k for snow + mow. This includes cost to refurbish the thing, if needed

- if we replace the mower, I still need a 60" mower deck, max, due to trees. 10 mph Ferris lets us mow it all in 3 hours. We need to keep near that time. If I need to, I can see about using a larger deck and then coming up with a plan for the half acre of wooded area, but then again, anything much bigger is a liability/intimidation factor with volunteers who come and go


Thoughts?? Paying someone to do this stuff isn't going to be feasible; subscription means steady payout, but we only get fits and spurts of income.

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
7/19/22 10:45 p.m.

I attend a big church in Orland Park, IL,  it's all ours but the top right lot I blacked out.

 Our budget is crazy for yard and snow - our maintenance guy recruits others to cut grass.  I used to co-sign checks and the tractor parts guy sold us a lot!

Good luck - it's never reasonable. 

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/19/22 10:54 p.m.

Wayslow Dork
7/20/22 12:22 p.m.
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) said:

In my experience mowers don't make great plows. They're designed to spead out their weight to avoid damaging the lawn. This is the exact opposite to what is required to get enough traction to plow heavy wet snow. 

 A small farm tractor with a rear blade and front bucket may be your best bet here.  The compact tractors tend to demand big bucks but 35hp-50hp tractors are generally more reasonable. I paid $2,000 for a 1967 IH 434 with a bucket. The 3 point hitch and PTO means you can use it for other tasks too. Dead simple to fix and parts are reasonable. Rear tires are expensive though.

STM317 PowerDork
7/20/22 1:41 p.m.

Anything small enough to do sidewalks is going to be brutal in a parking lot (unless you're talking about a skid steer with a pusher box but those are way over budget). Parking lots get pretty massive pretty quickly. A 4 inch snowfall could mean you're trying to push 12+ inches of snow after a dozen yards. You need weight and torque to move all of that snow as it adds up.

Folgers Reader
7/20/22 8:29 p.m.

Where in the world are you located, and how much snow does your area usually get?

P3PPY Dork
7/21/22 5:54 p.m.
Folgers said:

Where in the world are you located, and how much snow does your area usually get?

Lansing area. Been here just a couple years and it gets a couple/few inches at a time maybe 6 times?

We have activities at the church all the time so it's not just Sundays and Wed nights, but early mornings too. 

If there turns out a consensus that >40 hp tractors are too small, I could measure how wide we have solid ground on either side of the sidewalk and see if a narrower-width old Sonoma would work instead

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