Off our backs: There's an easy solution [sidewalk repair] 2011.10.05

Written by David Green.

There are few local government actions that raise the ire of citizens more than sidewalk repair. When a city or village council starts talking about sidewalks, it’s a sure bet there will be some angry talk from residents.

Considering the cost of the work, you can’t blame property owners for feeling miffed about being told to fix their sidewalk. On the other hand, they really do need to fix their sidewalk.

These days, complaints often mention intrusive government telling citizens what they must do—and in many cases, how they must spend their money.

Unfortunately for those people, choosing to live in a community also brings responsibilities. There’s a municipal sewer and water system to maintain. There are roads to fix, trees to trim, walks to shovel, lawns to mow—and sidewalks to repair.

Sidewalk maintenance isn’t a matter of making things look nice. That’s the bonus. The crux of the issue is safety. In Fayette, there were complaints about being unable to push a stroller through some parts of town. Concerns about tripping while out for a walk or run were expressed.

There’s one basic fact about sidewalk repair that critics tend lose sight of, and it has nothing to do with a push for sidewalk repair such as what’s going on now in Fayette. Whether or not council decides to focus on an area of town for sidewalk work, an ordinance lies behind it.

Most communities—Fayette and Morenci included—have a law in place governing sidewalk maintenance. It’s written for the safety of all residents.

If you want to get government off your back, and save council the trouble of demanding, there’s a simple solution: Just fix your sidewalk. It’s the law.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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