With more snow predicted to come our way in the next couple of days it seemed like a good time to mention a new initiative that some Kent residents have taken up to get more sidewalks shoveled, especially in the commercial district on SR59 where a number of popular local businesses have had a less than stellar track record of keeping their front sidewalks cleared.
If it takes a village to raise a child, the Pritt family is showing how a couple of kids can raise awareness in a village with some salt and a couple of shovels.
But first lets review what we’re working with here. The City Code says that all of us who reside or do business in Kent must not push or pile snow in such a way as to block or impede safe passage on City sidewalks. If you pile and block it, you can get a ticket.
If mother nature left piles of snow on the sidewalk the Code says that all of us who reside or do business in Kent are responsible for clearing that snow within a reasonable amount of time after the snow storm has ceased. The trouble is, there’s really no effective means of enforcement on the books to inspire better compliance with shoveling sidewalks so many are left untouched.
City Council wrestled long and hard over the last 3 years to find a better ways of compelling compliance with sidewalk shoveling but at the end of the day there was not enough support to pass legislation that would force property owners hands by putting more enforcement mechanisms in place. Which means Council relies on an appeal to good citizenship and civic responsibility to encourage property owners to do their part.
Sidewalk shoveling has been better this year, particularly in residential neighborhoods, but the highly visible commercial district on SR59 remains a sore spot as many folks who walk this route are almost forced to walk in the street due to the lack of shoveling on the sidewalks.
Recognizing this problem, Kent resident Mike Pritt enlisted a little help from his two sons to take matters into their own hands. Fed up with poor shoveling compliance, the three shoveling amigos headed out and put in a little civic duty overtime, shoveling the sidewalks in front of the businesses on SR 59. Mike and his kids felt so good about what they did they started telling other people about it and before you know it — they’ve got the making of a grass roots shoveling brigade.
Mike dropped me a note to fill me on his cause and he’s trying to spread the word a bit to perhaps enlist some other like minded community volunteers to join him. I’ve excerpted some comments from Mike to me below and if you’re interested you can track this discussion at Sidewalk Shovel Initiative.
I think I may have the beginings of a movement here.
I started this Snow Shoveling Initiative a few weeks ago and it is begining to ge some legs underneath it. I even have people wanting to give me money!
I think this could be a good maybe great thing if I manage it correctly. If you check out some of the comments that I’ve received, people are becoming passionate.
My idea is to make this a community initiative. I really did not want the city government to be involved. You guys have enough to do already. I perfer the carrot instead of the stick approach to getting people/businesses to shovel their walks. It is much unlike my nature but I’ve been working on being patient lately and have had some success. I would rather foster good feelings of community spirit rather than ill will.
I actually feel the same way but passing laws in this circumstance should be a last resort. I think peer pressure might work. If you have any suggestions or comments let me know.
- Organization: Kent for Clean Sidewalks
- Causes: Health
- Date(s): Saturday January 15, 2011
- Contact person: Mike Pritt
- Phone: 330-554-7333
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is to clean the sidewalks of snow along Main St between Willow St and Dubois Book Store. This is a high foot traffic area that just doesn’t quite understand snow shoveling. There are a few good examples along the street (5 Guys,Faith Lutheran and Dubois) but for the most part the walks are unshoveled. Why do I care you ask? Community spirit, town and gown and get r done; I think it would be a cool thing to do for those who have to trudge through that stuff everyday on there way to school and work. Maybe we can shame the businesses that are located there to actually shovel the walk themselves or start a movement! High noon, Saturday, meet at the abandoned gas station. Bring shovels, salt etc. If we get enough people it will take less than a few hours. Peter Panino might even show up, he loves shoveling snow. It’s fun!