City program looks to clear snowy sidewalks

Jan 20, 2016

Over some opposition, the Common Council voted Tuesday to go ahead with a pilot program to test snow plowing city-owned property on the East Side, along Metro Bus routes.

Council members voted eight-to-one in favor of a new snow-clearing program.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

There have long been complaints that sidewalks in front of city property are not cleaned while neighboring property owners receive tickets for not removing snow. The pilot program would use outside companies.

"In-house is impossible. There's too much city-owned property at this point to do that in-house," explained Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak.

The city has 7,000 pieces of property, much of it heavily foreclosed. That can mean an inspector does nothing about sidewalks in front of city property piled high with snow while ticketing a neighbor whose sidewalk isn't cleaned.

"We have vacant lots that we own. We have 7,000 vacant lots. This is all geared about public safety. That was the number one factor."

Councilmember Richard Fontana was the lone representative arguing against the program, with a cost up to $100,000. He says it's too late in the winter season and spring might come early this year.