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Homeowners face fines for not shoveling

It’s been more than two weeks since the area’s first big snowfall of the year, and though your driveway is hopefully clear, your street and sidewalk may be a different story. Now, the City of Davenport is reminding people that there may be a price to pay for not shoveling. 

It’s why Tony Reynolds spent Friday morning chipping away at Sudlow Intermediate School.

“We certainly don’t want to be fined, that’s for sure,” said Reynolds.

If a sidewalk isn’t cleared of snow and ice within 10 hours after the snow stops falling, the City of Davenport can do it for you. The city doesn’t have to notify the homeowner first, but it will make sure you get the bill — one for a minimum of $90.

The reason for the ordinance is pedestrian safety. It’s something that’s especially important as kids head back to school on Monday.

“It is very important, it really is, because we certainly don’t want to have anyone, teachers or students, slip and fall and get hurt,” said Reynolds.

With some Davenport side streets still a mess, though, is it fair to charge residents with cleaning their walks? Public Works Director Mike Clarke said comparing streets to sidewalks is apples to oranges.

“We’re working on the streets, we’re out there every single day with all of our resources to do as best as we can. Your sidewalk is your responsibility, and you should work as best as you can to get it cleared,” said Clarke.

With a couple weeks of ice built up, though, just how do you get down to the pavement?

“You almost have to take a pickaxe out there and try to get that, and that’s not reasonable. In that case, just get some salt down so that there is something on the surface. Salt or sand, just something to keep some traction on top of that ice and show us that you made an attempt,” said Clarke.

Davenport isn’t the only city with the rule — both Bettendorf and Moline have similar policies. Rock Island, though, doesn’t have any ordinance on sidewalk snow removal or enforcement.