YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – As Youngstown’s elected leaders work to attract more people back into the city’s downtown area, they are considering a plan to hold business operators more responsible for the areas in front of their shops.
Youngstown City Council members are considering a new ordinance requiring downtown business owners to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks. The measure would force owners to clear the areas in front of their establishments by 7 a.m. after a snowstorm or else face $150 fines.
The money would go to the city for cleaning the sidewalk and the business owners would see that fee on their next water bill.
Attorney Jeff Kurz and his partners own a couple bars downtown. He admits the idea might work for businesses that are open that time of day.
“But if it is something where there is going to be citations issued at 7 a.m., they are going to be issuing a lot of citations very frequently. Simply because for practical purposes, the businesses will simply not be able to have somebody to take care of the snow,” Kurz said.
Kurz said he does favor the idea of improving the appearance of the downtown, but is hoping council will work with business owners to come up with a measure that would be more acceptable to all.
Mayor John McNally proposed the snow shoveling idea in early March.