Icy sidewalks could lead to fines for GR property owners

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids property owners, be warned: If you don’t clear your sidewalk soon, you could be fined.

Icy sidewalks were one of the big reasons Grand Rapids Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday. The walk to school was too risky for some students.

“We’re finding that with the ice that we recently had that they’re not as walkable as they should be. So we’re really asking residents and property owners to help partner with us to really make sure our neighborhoods… stay safe so students and folks that need to walk to work or get to the bus can do so safely,” said Amy Snow-Buckner with the city of Grand Rapids.

Snow-Buckner says it’s the responsibility of a property owner to ensure the full width of the sidewalk lining their property is clear down to the concrete within 24 hours of a snow or ice event.

When the city gets complaints about a stretch of walkway, they send a letter to the property owner, asking them to clear it. If the property owner doesn’t respond, the city sends someone out to do the work.

The bill adds up fast. Snow-Buckner says the fine for an uncleared sidewalk is $95 plus $25 for every 15 minutes it takes the city worker to clear the sidewalk.

“It is in your best interest to clear your sidewalk not only because you don’t want to get a fine, but because you want to be neighborly and make sure the neighborhood stays walkable and that your neighbors and you and anyone else who wants to walk on the sidewalks are safe,” she said.

Snow-Buckner says the city is hopeful everyone gets the message and GRPS can reopen Thursday.

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