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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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