Saugatuck Officials Say They Are Doing Their Best To Keep Up With Snowy Sidewalks
City of Saugatuck officials have noted the concerns by some residents over the conditions of downtown sidewalks this winter and have extended their apologies.
But at the same time they are telling those constituents to be mindful that it has been an uncommonly severe winter and that there is a “cost associated” with over-the-normal maintenance.
The Saugatuck City Council discussed the matter during Monday night’s meeting.
“There has also been concerns (by residents in Saugatuck and neighboring city Douglas) about salt on the sidewalks so in some way, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t (put out salt),” said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier.
A number of local residents wrote to the city leaders about their grievances.
“As part of a walking group that walks the sidewalks and streets of Saugatuck, I can testify that this winter was, of course, a bad one. BUT regardless - the sidewalks need to be safe not only for residents but for visitors to our town.
“This year especially there were many places on the main streets in town that were downright dangerous,” wrote resident Sandra Collins on February 19.
Others, also from the same walking group comprised of 20-plus senior residents, also made their concerns known.
“In some intersections the snow piles blocked crosswalks. The tractor(s) that clear the snow leave deep ruts that create dangerous footing and often force our members to walk in busy streets to avoid inevitable back strains and falls. Surely we can do better,” wrote John and Char Shack.
“Many cities don’t clear the sidewalks. It could be done, but there is a cost associated with it,” said Harrier.
“Most communities that I have spoken to (of similar characteristics, e.g., Harbor Springs) have a business district that do supply funds for additional maintenance of the downtown sidewalks.”
Saugatuck City Council members said they would continue the discussion, including representative Bill Lint.
Lint said he sometimes joins the walking group and would act as liaison, relating the city’s response to them.
“We could put together a plan and a solution and if the business community wants to support that, great,” said Harrier.