City council to discuss snowy sidewalks

Many sidewalks around Fort Wayne have not been cleared from all the snow this winter.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – With so much snow this winter, many people haven’t kept up with keeping the sidewalks in front of their home or business clear. After getting a lot of complaints, five Fort Wayne city council members will meet Thursday morning to take a closer look at the problem.

“It’s been very trying on a lot of folks,” City councilman Geoff Paddock, (D-5th District) said. “We’ve had some constituents come forward concerned about snow removal on sidewalks, particularly around schools.”

A Fort Wayne ordinance requires people responsible for a property to have the sidewalk cleared from ice and snow by 9 a.m. and keep it clean throughout the day. Violators can face a daily fine of up to $2,500. That law was last revised in 1974.

“I think it is [being enforced] to some extent. I have been told there are people who received letters when reports were made and those who do not take this seriously may be fined, but I think there’s some leeway there as far as what that actual fine should be,” Paddock said.

Councilmen Russ Jehl, Marty Bender, Tom Smith and John Shoaff will be joining Paddock at the voluntary meeting on Thursday. It’s open to the public and starts at 9 a.m. in room 30 on the lower level of Citizens Square.

“We do have an issue we have to address as we move forward to next year,” Paddock said. “Students walking to school have to walk on a busy street when the sidewalks aren’t clear. Early in the morning when it’s still dark out that’s very concerning to me.”

Any ideas for changes to the ordinance or other proposals would still have to go through the normal procedures in the full city council meetings.

“I want to work on solutions more than fines,” Paddock said. “Not fining people, but how do we get the job done through neighborhood associations and volunteer groups. I’d rather work on a solution where we don’t punish people but we find a way help them do this next year.”


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