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Mayor Reacts To KELO News Story

January 18, 2011, 6:00 PM by Don Jorgensen

Mayor Reacts To KELO News Story
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Monday night we showed you video of a man in a wheelchair traveling down a busy Minnesota Avenue. He couldn't use the sidewalks because a lot of them hadn't been cleared of snow and ice. Our story is generating a lot of talk, including from the mayor who is appalled and says things are going to change.

William Koch told us, he'd rather risk his life on a busy Minnesota Avenue, than get stuck in the snow on the sidewalk. 

"I've had a couple of them yell at me, 'Get on the sidewalk,' and I yell back, 'Yeah, you better clean your sidewalk,'" William Koch said.

Our story resonated loud and clear at City Hall.

"I watched the KELOLAND story and I called Darin and said immediately, 'We will do better,'" Mayor Mike Huether said.

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether couldn't believe what he was seeing; a man in his wheelchair weaving in and out of traffic just to try to get around town. 

"I met with everyone of my department heads this morning at 8 o'clock and this is one of the first things we discussed," Huether said. 

This sidewalk is a prime example of one that hasn't been cleared of snow or ice. The mayor says the city is going to ramp up efforts through education, awareness and fines.

Huether says the city will use its resources to follow up on complaints, because sidewalks like these are unacceptable. 

"To me, if you're in a wheelchair or if you're blind in our city, you're being held hostage during the winter time," Huether said.

That's why he's asking businesses and homeowners to do their part to be good neighbors. 

"Until you step into someone's shoes, you don't really realize the impact this has on somebody's life," Huether said.

Here's a look at the number of complaints, inspections and fines so far this year compared to 2010.

Total complaints received season to date 09-10 Season until Jan 18th 2010: 663
Total complaints received season to date 10-11 Season until Jan 18th 2011: 610+

Total inspections completed season to date 09-10 Season until Jan 18th 2010: 640
Total inspections completed season to date 10-11 Season until Jan 18th 2011: 730+

Contractor cleared properties season to date 09-10 Season until Jan 18th 2010: 43
Contractor cleared properties season to date 10-11 Season until Jan 18th 2011: 42

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