With the new concrete on the Valentine Main Street project, choosing a safe ice melt is critical to the long-term health and appearance of our concrete. Valentine’s remodeled main street serves as a great starting point for pedestrian safety and salt use throughout the winter. We would like to remind residents and business owners that new concrete is more susceptible to excessive deterioration with high salt use throughout its first year. Salt does not damage concrete directly, but the effects of salt can. The deterioration process of chlorinated salt is quite simple. Salt lowers the freezing point of water, attracts moisture, and increases the pressure of frozen water. These variables increase the freeze-thaw cycle if the temperature fluctuates between 15°F and 25°F. Concrete scaling will occur in the absence of salt if there were prior problems at installation. The more time the concrete has matured, the less likely that ice pressure will exceed the tensile strength of the concrete. Applying a non-chlorinated salt product is critical to the long-term health and appearance of concrete. Non-chlorinated salt products are not as effective in cold temperatures but will stop the excessive freeze thaw cycles caused with chlorinated salt. Alternative benefits include its safety around plants and pets, its ability to not corrode newly placed concrete, and its ability to be harmless to water supplies. Another option to protect concrete while providing pedestrian traction is sand for the winter season. Sand is widely available, cheap and environmentally friendly. The City of Valentine plans not to use salt on Main Street this winter and switch to sand and gravel to allow the concrete to cure.