Sidewalk snow removal returns to Center Line

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published January 5, 2018

 Center Line Mayor Bob Binson inspects the new Kubota tractors purchased by the city to facilitate the return of the residential sidewalk snow removal program.

Center Line Mayor Bob Binson inspects the new Kubota tractors purchased by the city to facilitate the return of the residential sidewalk snow removal program.

Photo provided by the city of Center Line

CENTER LINE — Call it the gift that keeps on giving, as long as the snow keeps flying.

Center Line’s snow removal service for its 32.2 miles of residential sidewalks has returned this winter, a decade after the economic downturn led officials to shelve the program.

Last month, the City Council voted to approve its return, and the city has since taken delivery of two Kubota diesel tractors outfitted with blowers and snow throwers suitable for plowing sidewalks.

“There was obviously economic hardships for the city. It was one of the programs they cut,” City Manager Dennis Champine said. “Now that things are going better, the mayor and the council had residents in the city come in and say we want to see more bang for our buck. They want to see programs that were once unique to Center Line returned.”

Champine said the city spent $45,000 to buy the tractors and that the annual cost of the program going forward will be $8,000-$10,000 annually for maintenance, gas and added wages.

“I think in the end many of us who have resided in the city, both in the past and continue to do so now, we realize what was and is unique about our small town,” Mayor Bob Binson said. “This is one of these services that made Center Line stand out. We also have a large senior population who can no longer push the snow, nor have the financial wherewithal to pay someone else to do it.”

Champine said snow accumulations of 4 inches or greater will be removed from residential sidewalks. He said snowfall on the sidewalks adjacent to commercial properties in the downtown district will continue to be removed through a program fueled by the Center Line Downtown Development Authority.  

Residents are still being asked to help keep sidewalks clear and safe by removing smaller amounts of snow, and by salting as necessary.

Champine said he’s hopeful that the program will further encourage anyone considering a move to Center Line.

“The goal is to be unique and inviting for our future residents. Maybe they’ll see that as a valued benefit for the taxes they pay here,” Champine said.

Funding for the project was made available through efficiencies created in other areas, Champine added.