No salt on downtown sidewalks

City workers remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of the Baldwin City Public Library last winter. This year, city administrators are asking downtown business owners to not use salt on the new sidewalks. Enlarge photo

November 13, 2008

Winter’s ice and snow are just around the corner, but downtown businesses will have to have a new game plan this year for battling the elements.

Because of the $1.8 million Downtown Streetscape Project replaced all the sidewalks downtown, traditional salt can not be used to melt the ice. It will damage the concrete, according to the contractor who poured and city officials who are trying to protect it.

“Please do not use salt on the sidewalks,” said City Administrator Jeff Dingman in a letter to downtown business owners.

“Instead, please use a magnesium chloride product or products containing calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) as the deicing agent,” said Dingman.

He said that Baldwin Feed Co. and Arrowhead Hardware will be carrying products with magnesium chloride or CMA for deicing. He also said that the sidewalks have a warranty that took effect on the June 27 completion date.

“The new sidewalks are warranted by the contractor for one year from the completion date of the project,” said Dingman. “We have received notice from the contractor that they intend not to be held responsible for surface damage to the concrete caused by salt, calcium chloride or ammonia products used as ice melt agents.

“Therefore, in order to keep our concrete in good shape this year and in years to come, we need to employ your assistance in this matter,” he said.

He also encouraged anyone with questions to contact him at City Hall or Bill Winegar, director of public works.

Dingman reminded business owners in the letter that according to city codes, sidewalks must be cleared of snow and ice within 12 hours after the weather event ceases.

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