Shine those snow shovels.
With the memory of the 42 inches of snow that fell on Lawrence last winter, city leaders are getting an early jump on asking residents to volunteer for a program to shovel sidewalks for the elderly.
“Last winter was an example of a time when people really needed some help,” said Megan Gilliland, director of communications for the city. “It was a good reminder that some people just can’t do the snow shoveling, and helping them is a neighborly thing to do.”
The city and Douglas County Senior Services are continuing their long-running Safe Winter Walkways Program. Individuals can call 832-3338 or go to www.lawrenceks.org to sign up as a volunteer for the program. People who believe they will need help shoveling their sidewalks can sign up by contacting Douglas County Senior Services.
Gilliland said volunteers are given one address at the beginning of the snow season that they will be responsible for shoveling after each snowfall. The program attracted 52 volunteers last year, and Gilliland said the city is hoping to sign up more this year by getting started early and reminding youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and other organizations they are welcome to participate.
City leaders also are reminding residents about the city’s snow shoveling ordinance. The ordinance requires snow to be removed within 48 hours of the end of a snowfall. Property owners are responsible for clearing the public sidewalks adjacent to their properties. The city can issue a fine of $20 plus court costs of $52 for failure to clear the sidewalks.
The ordinance was put to the test last year. More than 140 tickets were issued to people who did not shovel their sidewalks in a timely manner. The city received more than 300 complaints, and city inspectors spent multiple hours on the project. Gilliland said the program again will be run on a complaint basis. She said city leaders also are entering the snow season with one overriding thought.
“We definitely are hoping for less snow this year,” she said.