The mandate that property owners clear sidewalks after a snowstorm has always been a problem for elderly and infirm residents who don’t have deep pockets to pay for help.
Now one city councilor, newcomer David Mills, is hoping to come to their aid.
Mills said that after from residents who have a hardship complying with the law, he contacted with Boy Scouts and both city high schools to find out if they’d be interested in helping provide volunteers to shovel snow for those who can’t do it themselves.
Mills said the youngsters are willing to try.
High school students have community service hours to rack up anyway, officials said, and the Boy Scouts are often ready to chip in for public service.
Mayor Art Ward hailed the effort.
“It’s innovative. He’s taken the initiative,” Ward said.
Ward, a second-term Democrat, said he’ll do what he can to help implement the freshman Republican’s plan.
He said that making it work is going to be trick.
But, Ward said, there is no doubt that volunteers “could address some of the needs” among seniors and others who have long complained about the hardship of making sure their sidewalks are clear.
Mill said that any seniors or homebound residents who cannot do their sidewalks should contact Darlene Coffey at the Beals Senior-Community Center, who is compiling a list of those interested in getting help.
“I thought it was a fantastic idea,” said Coffey, who already has a list started.
She said she’s worried she may wind up with more people seeking help than Mills can find volunteers for.
Anyone interested in receiving assistance with shoveling should call Coffey at (860) 584-7895.
Mills took office this week after winning one of the two 3rd District council seats on Election Day.
If a storm ends between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., property owners have nine hours to clear sidewalks. They have 12 hours from the end of other storms.
Failure to comply can lead to a $75 fine.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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