Shoveling Law Snows Suburb

Tinley Park businesses required to keep sidewalks clear

Playing in the snow might be fun, but shoveling it sure isn't.

In fact, the chore is so daunting to some Chicago businesses that they don't even bother clearing their sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to make their own dangerous path through the snow. One Chicago area neighborhood is hoping to make the sidewalks a little safer with a new regulation.

Beginning February 1, a new suburban ordinance goes into effect, requiring property owners along a five-block stretch of Oak Park Avenue to keep the sidewalks adjacent to their properties clear of ice and snow. The ordinance was unanimously approved by Tinley Park trustees last week.

The five targeted blocks between 171st and 176th Streets are part of the town's busy downtown strip. Some business owners in the area have been looking forward to the new law, hoping it will promote more foot traffic.

"I think this is crucial," commission chairman Mike Clark, owner of Ed & Joe's Pizza, told the Southtown Star. "As a business owner, this is something we should be doing anyway. If people can't get to our businesses, we're not going to be successful."

Other residents agree with the sentiment, but don't think it required a new law.

"It's discrimination," said 70-year-old Tim Noodwang, owner of Sara's Tailoring & Alterations. "If they want some people to do it, everybody should. Next thing they're going to want is to have everyone have an awning when it rains."

Roger Barton, manager of  VFW Post 2791, also located in the five-block strip, told the Chicago Tribune, "I know what the goal is, to get the sidewalks clear … But I just don't think they should be forcing businesses to do this."

Barton also admitted his group is in no condition to do a lot of shoveling.

"Who am I going to send out there? I'm probably the youngest guy, and I'm 60."

Trustee Mike Bettenhausen leads the Tinley Park public safety committee and said the village may match up volunteering high school students with senior citizens who need help clearing the snow.

Fines begin at $40 per 1,000 square feet of property for the first offense and $80 for every subsequent offense.

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