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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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