City officials, wheelchair users: Make sure to shovel sidewalks - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City officials, wheelchair users: Make sure to shovel sidewalks

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - City officials -- and people who use wheels on sidewalks -- are reminding people to shovel sidewalks.

Iowa code states people need to clear walkways within a "reasonable amount of time." However, many cities have ordinances that specify how long people have after a snowstorm ends to shovel their sidewalks.

Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson said in 2012, officers dealt with more than 100 complaints and violations of residents who had not cleared sidewalks within 48 hours.

According to Olson, violators face a $500 fine in addition to the cost of whoever the city hires to remove the snow.

Chris Young, a resident of Cedar Falls, said he depends on people to clear walkways so he can get around. He has used a wheelchair since 1989 after a spinal cord injury paralyzed him.

"It's not always easy, but sometimes it is," he said.

Young said it's especially important for people to pay attention to areas along the curb.

"Curb cuts are the most important," he said. "A lot of times you can get through the stuff on the sidewalk. It's all the stuff that's crammed into the curb cuts that are near the corners, and when the plows go around the corner, the curb cuts get filled back in."

Many city officials report residents as being cooperative when it comes to snow removal.

Tab Ray, a code enforcer in Waverly, said Waverly residents are required to clear walkways within 48 hours of the end of a snowstorm, but said the city has only received two complaints.

Ray said it's also important for college students to make sure they're following their lease as to who is responsible for snow removal, especially before the students leave for holiday break.

Decorah Police Chief Bill Nixon said Decorah follows the state code, requiring residents to remove snow within a "reasonable amount of time." Nixon said it is rare to have any complaints.

Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock said Evansdale residents have 24 hours after a snow event to remove snow, and that the city hasn't received any complaints as of Thursday afternoon.
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