City owned sidewalks are unshoveled

If South Bend were in a position to write tickets for unshoveled sidewalks today—the city itself may be among the biggest violators.

South Bend’s Redevelopment Department owns about 150-parcels and very few have sidewalks that have been shoveled.

One example is the former Fat Daddy’s property at Michigan and Monroe Streets where there are footprints on the snowy sidewalks, but no evidence of any attempts at snow removal.

“Certainly the city can’t consider themselves exempt from their own ordinances,” said Dr. David Varner, a member of both the South Bend Common Council and the South Bend Redevelopment Commission.

Yet the Department of Redevelopment now owns the 400 block of West Western where the Gates car dealership used to be. Today, the sidewalk there still hadn’t been shoveled.

Same goes for blocks of residential properties off Indiana Avenue that are now city owned.

“It’s not realistic for the city to have to do all of that without some assistance, you know the properties that redevelopment is accumulating are very large parcels,” said Catherine Toppel, the Director of Code Enforcement for South Bend.

In the past, redevelopment has relied on snow removal crews from other city departments to handle a handful of properties that had enough sidewalk traffic to warrant shoveling.

The rest of the parcels were ignored because the sidewalks there were seldom, if ever, used.

In the future, because of the new snow shoveling ordinance passed by the South Bend Common Council on Monday, Property Manager Debrah Jennings told News Center 16, “We decided that all of the properties needed a snow removal contract.”

Jennings went on to say, “Some areas there is no traffic, no one living there, but we’ll remove the snow because of the ordinance.”

“Does it bother me?” asked Dr. Varner. “It would seem to be a waste of money, but on the other hand, you can’t ask all of our citizens to do it then let the city ignore it.”

Today the sidewalks were clear outside of a few redevelopment owned properties downtown, including the sidewalks surrounding the LaSalle Hotel, and those outside the shops that are part of the parking garage at Jefferson and Michigan.

In the near future all 150 of the parcels owned by redevelopment have been targeted for sidewalk snow removal.

On Monday of this week, the city started seeking quotes from private snow removal companies.

The hope is to award a contract in time to start clearing the sidewalks this weekend.

South Bend’s new snow removal regulations take effect on January 22nd.

They require sidewalks to be cleared of snow 24 hours after the flakes stop falling. If not, residents deemed responsible for snow clearance could face fines.

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