SMILES shares importance of keeping sidewalks accessible

As the snow continues to fall, one group in Mankato wants to remind you to make sure you keep your sidewalks accessible to all.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 10:02 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Southern Minnesota is seeing snow again and one organization as well as the city of North Mankato is reminding community members to help keep sidewalks accessible.

“It is so important that everybody has a safe Pathway to wherever they’re traveling to,” Executive director of SMILES, Bonnie Danberry said. “It’s just a reminder to shovel salt sand and clear and keep those sidewalks clear

“It is a safety issue not necessarily just for the elderly, but it’s for everyone especially kids going to school and we just want to make sure that everybody has access to the sidewalks and it’s a safe place,” explained North Mankato water and parks superintended, Duane Rader.

SMILES Center for independent Living has a group of about 15 people known as the Citizens for Accessibility.

“Citizens for accessibility groups who are people with disabilities took the initiative to want safe sidewalks for everybody in their community,” Danberry added. “They started that initiative and the City of Mankato has helped with it, and it’s been a great asset to Mankato.”

They work towards improving accessibility for people with disabilities as well as bringing awareness and education for everyone.

“People with disabilities are encouraged to be a part of it, but can also have allies that are just there to support those people,” said Danberry.

In Mankato and North Mankato, if you fail to remove snow within 24 hours after the snowfall ends, you may be charged a removal fee.

“Stay on top of it. I mean even today if there’s a little bit of snow on your sidewalk, it may not be that much but it’s going to get cold and freeze and then you’re gonna have that ice buildup,” added Rader, “So the more you can keep it clean the easier it is to clean it the next time.”