One must appreciate the vision and genius of the city council when they decided that almost a million dollars should be spent on sidewalks for children to walk to school. In anticipation of the many winter school days, they promised in their Safe Route to School grant application sidewalk snow removal maintenance. We could all rest assured that during those dark winter mornings when ice and snow covered most of our City, the children would be able to walk safely to school on the expensive new sidewalks. But unfortunately, it appears that this was never the intent of the City Council because on the first day back to school after Christmas break, this is what the sidewalk looked like on the city owned lot at the corner of Indiana and Jameson. Great fun when playing King of the Mountain, not so much when trudging to school while carrying heavy backpacks.
Division Administrator for the Michigan Division of the Federal Highway Administration Russell Jorgenson seemed unconcerned with lies on the City’s grant applications, ruling there was no fraud. If the number one man in Lansing is fine with lies on grant applications so is the City’s leadership and then of course the employees who report to them.
Street Supervisor Tony Ashbaugh cannot be faulted when he violates the requirements of the grant application because it appears that when the City Council approved it, they had no vested interest in the actual requirements they pledged to enforce. More than likely, the City Council’s laissez-faire attitude toward government requirements trickles down to city employees. In other cities, it is a no-no for city employees to pile snow on sidewalks, here not so much even though the City Council committed to snow removal maintenance in their pledge to safely routing children to school.
In the dead of winter, this is how children should walk to school in a city that has accepted thousands of grant dollars for Safe Routes to School.
In New Buffalo, children have no safe route.
In their rush to get ‘free money’ from the State, it appears the City Council give no thought about the upkeep of their expensive sidewalks. They used their concern for the children walking safely to school as the rational to apply for Safe Routes to School funding but in reality, it was always about the free money.
Progressive cities use the following equipment to keep children safe in winter, why doesn’t New Buffalo?