The responsibility behind snowy sidewalks

Director of Mexico Public Works Kensey Russel said Thursday sidewalks covered in snow need to be taken care of (FILE).

Director of Mexico Public Works Kensey Russel said Thursday sidewalks covered in snow need to be taken care of.

"Any of the sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner to clear and to maintain," he said.

Russell said this means local business owners are responsible for cleaning their walkways, and residents need to shovel theirs as well.

Russell said often times snow plows push the snow onto the sidewalks, covering much of the sidewalk areas that may had been clear.

"There is somewhat of a natural conflict between the removal of snow from the streets and trying to keep the sidewalks particularly at the corners, clear," he said.

When people do not shovel their snow, Russell said the first step is to address the residence or business directly.

"We'll contact the property owner and work with them to try to get compliance," he said. "That usually is a better avenue than trying to enforce a ticket or a fine."

Russell said maintaining responsibility and clearing sidewalks helps with safety, and is encouraged for liability reasons.

"Because the property owner does have the responsibility, generally their comprehensive insurance policy would be contacted for any kind of slip and fall," he said.

He said it helps with accessibility too.

"We do have people in our community that don't drive and they depend on getting to the store or getting to work by walking," he said.

Mexico isn't the only city with this requirement, Columbia, Jefferson City, Moberly, Sedalia, Boonville, Montgomery City and Holts Summit have similar rules as well. Fulton lists snow on the sidewalk as a nuisance.

One restaurant manager at Aussie Outback & Down Under Richard Brashear said his business prepares for snow storms.

"We usually make sure we carry 5-10 pounds of ice-salt for the sidewalks," he said.

He said while the weather often brings in less customers, one matter never changes.

"Customer safety is one of our number one priorities," he said. "We try to make sure everyone -especially when they're drinking at the bar- we want to make sure it's a safe environment for everyone."

Russell said as a member of any local community, it's important to keep up with responsibilities for the good of everyone.

"Be neighborly and try to help our fellow citizens," he said. "Try to clear that so that everyone has access to the same services."

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