The village should keep our sidewalks clear

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Today is the first official day of wintry weather and once again I ask myself, "Why is a property owner responsible for maintaining public space?" At various times of the year, the village plows streets, clears storm drains (rarely, but I have seen it done), plants and prunes trees in the causeway, removes refuse (for a fee) and other such activities when it comes to ensuring the public space is maintained and safe. 

Shoveling sidewalks is another story, and I would like to know why this rests on the homeowner. I rarely use the sidewalk in front of my house, yet I am held accountable for the maintenance during the winter. 

My time, resources and other expenses to perform this "civic duty" are a form of taxation that unfairly penalizes the homeowner. Since this is public space, the village needs to find a way to maintain it themselves and share the cost appropriately. Or handle it like plowing snow in the alleys — do nothing. 

Mark Schlosser 

Oak Park 

Reader Comments

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Dave Slade from Oak Park  

Posted: January 17th, 2017 9:38 AM

This needs discussion? Shovel. Or ask someone to do it for you. Bitching that it is a form of taxation is a bunch of crap.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 17th, 2017 8:50 AM

So, is it also "taxation" to be required by ordinance to mow your lawn?

Scott Concertman  

Posted: January 16th, 2017 11:45 PM

Great Idea! But after decades, we had to discontinue this municipality service in Elmwood Park. When it began causing too much damage to property owners landscapes, lawns and sprinkler heads. First we had a Jeep with a big snow blower attached to front, then changed over to towing a V shaped object constructed out of I beams. What happened to Oak Parks famous heated sidewalks which melted snow away in winter? Good luck finding solution.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 31st, 2016 1:39 PM

Tom: I agree. I just prefer my snow blower as it has made my "public duty" much safer and easier.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 31st, 2016 12:39 PM

Bruce, why waste time making lame excuses. We live in Illinois. It snows. You shovel it or you pay someone to shovel it for you. Publicly moaning about it is unseemly. I shoveled a triple lot, on a corner for 19 years. It was not fun but it needed to be done. While doing it, by hand, I would imagine some old person or woman with a baby buggy trying to walk on it if it wasn't shoveled. Bottom line: Wonderful neighbors shovel. Horrible neighbors stay inside and bitch and moan.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: December 30th, 2016 10:15 PM

Tom I largely agree with you. But shoveling snow can be a very risky activity for older folks - I'm talking heart attacks. This is because it is one of the most strenuous domestic activities possible performed under usually adverse conditions. Snow blowers can lower the risk. And of course, short of doing the deed yourself - there are always the neighborhood kids always ready, able and willing to earn some extra cash on the side. But I think that if one has a snow blower, it really is neighborly (and maybe lifesaving) to do not only one's own walk but your neighbor's as well. It really does not take long to do that.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: December 30th, 2016 8:05 PM

Show some pride and shovel your walk. It shouldn't have to be a law but then you also have to spend your time mowing a lawn. So put your big boy snow pants on and join the adults in the shoveling. Its called civilization.

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