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.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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • 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.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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