News and notes from around town:
• With some weather forecasters predicting a chance of snow showers this weekend, City Hall leaders are reminding Lawrence residents to get their snow shovels in gear.
City officials are trying to put out a warning that they will be serious about enforcing the city’s sidewalk snow removal ordinance. The ordinance requires property owners to clear public sidewalks adjacent to their property of snow and ice within 48 hours of a winter storm. The city measures the 48-hour period from the time snow stops falling during a storm. Shoveling is the preferred method to clear a sidewalk, but the ordinance does make provisions for people to spread sand on icy areas that are difficult to clear.
The city won’t necessarily act as snow shoveling cops by driving through neighborhoods looking for violations. Instead, they’ll respond to complaints from residents. But city inspectors have been known to issue tickets to neighboring properties where a complaint has been filed. In other words, if somebody calls in a complaint about one address and the inspector gets to the scene and realizes nobody on the street has cleared their sidewalks, then multiple tickets may be issued.
People can call in a complaint at 832-7700 or they can submit one online here.
Fines of $20 per day can be assessed for violating the ordinance, plus violators must pay Municipal Court costs. Those costs run $52.
Last year the ordinance — remember, we had 43 inches of snow — created quite a stir. The city issued more than 700 tickets during the season.
City leaders also are reminding people that the snow shoveling ordinance creates a need for volunteers for the Safe Winter Walkways Program. The program signs up healthy individuals to shovel sidewalks for the elderly and others who can not do so on their own. You can sign up to volunteer, here.
• North Lawrence’s ICL Performance Products plant will undergo an expansion, the company announced today.
According to a press release, the company will build a new Sodium Hexametaphosphate plant at the Lawrence facility, 440 N. Ninth. The new plant — expected to be completed by late 2011 — will help the company meet growing demand in the food additives, beverage and water treatment chemical markets.
No word yet, though, on how large of an investment the new plant will be, or whether it will add new jobs at the plant. Check back for more details.
• It is clear now which cities Lawrence is competing against to host the 2014 Special Olympic Games. Both Princeton, N.J., and Boston are being considered to host the games, which are expected to bring more than 3,000 athletes to the host community. Lawrence has submitted a formal bid for the games, but Special Olympic officials have not yet committed to make a site visit to the city. Both Boston and Princeton have received site visits. There’s word in some circles that the Shriver family — which was extremely influential in founding the Special Olympics — has come out in support of the two northeastern cities.
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