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Clean Streets and Smooth Sidewalks

Clean Streets and Smooth Sidewalks

(C. Proxmire, July 1, 2012)

Ferndale keeps its streets clean and its sidewalks straight by having money in the annual budget to keep up equipment and sidewalk inspections.  Both have come up at a recent City Council meeting.

On June 25, 2012, Council approved a payment of $2,982.30 to AIS Construction Company in New Hudson, MI for repairing the City’s 2009 Elgin Pelican Sweeper (vehicle #83.3) after the fuel injection system broke.  According to the Department of Public Works, AIS is the closest repair facility for the sweeper’s John Deere engine.

The sweeper is now back in service and the expense is being charged to the  Vehicle and Equipment Fund, Repair and Maintenance, account no. 661-775.

The sweeper not only helps keep Ferndale looking pristine, there are practical benefits such as having less dust and debris in the air, and keeping the sewers and drains clear.

The sidewalk program was also approved for another year.  The program requires all damaged or raised slabs to be replaced in a given section of the city for that year.  Residents and businesses are charged for the replacement of sidewalks along their property.  The assessment is made by an independent contractor, and the repairs have been contracted out to George E. Concrete LLC after a public bidding process.

Typically the entire City is done in a ten year cycle, with the City divided into ten districts of approximately equal size.  This year’s replacements will take place mainly between W 8 Mile and W 9 Mile, from Republic to Pincerest.  George E. Concrete has been selected for the second year in a row to complete the work.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) oversees the contracting of the inspections and the replacement work. Broken slabs are painted with the letter “b,” and slabs with an improper height or grade are marked “a.”  When a slab does not line up properly with the one next to it, it creates an unsafe ridge called a “stubber.”  When a stubber is a half an inch or more, it must be repaired or replaced.

The City of Ferndale website also has examples of other sidewalk codes one might see:  “c” is for ponding, “d” is for holes, “e” is for scaling, “o” is for patch jobs, and “x” is for other things such as damage from city-installed fixtures.

Several citizens came to Council with questions, or concerns over the markings.  Mayor Coulter clarified points about the program, including that people in corner lots automatically qualify for the hardship plan, and that the city takes the lowest qualified bidder for the project, while not even considering bids from companies that are not up to their standards.

Residents with questions about their assessments or the program in general can contact City Manager April Lynch at 248-546-2360.  Residents who cannot afford to pay can apply to the Hardship Committee to have the assessment broken down into payments.  Information will be included along with the assessment from the City.  Residents can have sidewalks replaced on their own if they follow the rules outlined by the Sidewalk Permit Fee Schedule.

For previous coverage of the sidewalk replacement program, see

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