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Ann Arbor neighborhood group launches new approach to sidewalk snow removal

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Jason Pratt
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Flickr Creative Commons

An Ann Arbor neighborhood group is kicking off a new way to keep city sidewalks clear.

It's raised enough money, $20,000 so far from about 170 people, to buy a tractor for clearing 12 miles of sidewalks in the Water Hill neighborhood and its connection to the downtown.

Paul Tinkerhess, founding director of the volunteer-run group called "SnowBuddy," said they are ready to start plowing the neighborhood sidewalks with the next snowfall.

He says when property owners don't clear their own walkways -- maybe because they're away or they're elderly or sick -- it creates unsafe conditions for all pedestrians and can completely block passage for persons with disabilities.

Tinkerhess said sidewalks should be "maintained as a linear transportation corridor much as the road is maintained as a linear corridor."

Tinkerhess hopes SnowBuddy might inspire the city to eventually provide sidewalk snow removal. He estimates it would cost about $20 each year per household.  He predicts a majority of Ann Arbor property owners would be in favor after last winter's snowfall.

SnowBuddy will start this season with volunteer tractor drivers. 

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom