O’Leary: Get a Grip On Slick Sidewalks

Elm Grove resident Bill O’Leary said he’s fed up with Wheeling property owners who fail to comply with an ordinance requiring them to clear snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses, and with city officials he believes are just letting it slide.

Following Thursday’s snowfall, O’Leary said he was upset to see a number of sidewalks in the neighborhood near his Paxton Avenue home still covered.

“There was no school (Friday), but that’s no excuse for not shoveling sidewalks,” O’Leary said, adding he observed his mail carrier having a difficult time in the slippery conditions.

A 62-year-old city ordinance holds property owners responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks in front of their lots “within a reasonable time following any snowfall.” O’Leary said he’s brought the matter to officials’ attention at past council meetings, and when he has called the city to complain of unsafe conditions, he’s been told there’s not manpower to enforce the ordinance.

But he’s not satisfied with that explanation, and he believes it’s a matter of safety. He said in the past, he’s seen people walking in the road to avoid treacherous sidewalks.

“You’ve got an ordinance there. … Enforce it,” O’Leary said.

City Manager Robert Herron did not return a call Friday seeking comment.

City code does not list a penalty for failure to clear snow and ice from sidewalks. When no penalty is provided for a specific offense, the code allows for a fine of up to $500, a jail term of up to 30 days or both.

“This city could make a fortune,” O’Leary said.