SooLeader received the following letter to the editor from local resident Gary Thesing regarding the condition of the streets locally.
To the SooLeader Editor March 31, 2023
To the Editor,
According to city ordinance (Section 5.1), all elected City Commission members, city officers, and certain personnel employed by the city must be residents of Sault Ste. Marie. A principal reason for this requirement is that personnel making decisions affecting city residents should experience the effects of their policies which should include experiencing driving conditions on city streets.
Anyone who drives or rides widely around Sault Ste. Marie quickly becomes aware that many of our streets are in appalling condition. The result is discomfort for drivers and passengers, and sometimes, in addition, vehicle damage. One must wonder if those responsible for our streets are aware of their awful condition.
I propose an addition to our city ordinances that would require our elected commissioners, city manager, and city engineer to personally drive down every city street at least once every six months.
This would provide them with information about the condition of the streets, sidewalks, and other public property. It might also inform them about other public matters that need attention, such as derelict properties and other public nuisances.
Limited funding is, of course, a major cause for streets that are pothole-littered, but one can’t help but notice that some of the city’s streets receive regular repairs and are generally in good condition. In addition, the city is sometimes able to match project grants that fund repairs. An example would be this past year’s $500,000 match for I-500 repairs. The I-500 is a great event, but it is a once-a-year event in which a relatively small number of the city’s residents participate. By contrast, almost all of us must suffer our city’s poor streets, and that is for 52 weeks a year.
If adequate funding is not going to be available soon, perhaps some selected streets should be converted from asphalt to gravel topping and maintained frequently. We would much prefer driving over a frequently graded gravel 20th Street East than the present patch over patch over patch street we must currently do so (with no alternative) several times a day!
Please repair our streets!
Gary Thesing - Sault Ste. Marie, MI