Some sidewalks still buried

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The snow has stopped falling from the sky, but now there is plenty of it piled up on the ground.

Dorcus Sutherlin spent most of her Saturday afternoon outside in the cold, behind a snow blower, “I’m supposed to do the sidewalks there and of course the sidewalk all the way over there to that house.”

The 78-year-old has been at work trying to clear the sidewalks in front of her house for the last two days, “I’ve done it at least four times now,” she said.

Each time Sutherlin clears the sidewalks, street plows pile the snow back up blocking the walkways, “I shake my hand at them and I tell them, you know I’ve done this before,” Sutherlin said, “And here you are bringing it, making it more difficult to do.”

On a corner lot, Sutherlin has sidewalks in front of her home and along the side, which means she has twice as much work to do each time it snows.

“They say if you don’t do it, we’ll do it and then we’ll charge you for doing it,” Sutherlin said.

The city of South Bend has a sidewalk shoveling ordinance.  According to code enforcement, here is how it works.  It requires residents to clear their walkways 24 hours after the snow stops falling.  In this case, residents did get two extra days because code enforcement doesn't work on the weekend.

If code enforcement finds someone hasn't complied with the ordinance the property owner is given a warning.   Code enforcement issued 20 such warnings after the first snow of the season.   Any warnings related to Friday's snow would go out on Monday.

If code enforcement's warnings are ignored, the ordinance does allow the city to issue fines.  So far there have been no fines issued this year.

(In an earlier version of this story, we reported that the city would come shovel the walk for you and then charge you.  That is incorrect.  We apologize and regret the error).



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