Adopt A Hydrant

Yesterday my city announced an opportunity for the civic minded to demonstrate their devotion to the community.  There are 200 fire hydrants in our city, and we can to select one to care for.  It involves clearing any obstacles from around the hydrant so it is ready to use in emergencies. Only 15 hydrants have been adopted to date.  I can see the wisdom in this, as city workers  are spread too thin to check them all for obstructions, and neighborhood residents are more likely to notice problems.

I don’t know why this struck me as so funny.  I can think of many city excresences I would like to care for: poorly trimmed trees, obscured street signs, vehicles on snow emergency routes that should have been towed but weren’t,  etc. Give me a Bobcat with a snow shovel and I will clear out problematic snowy intersections.  The possibilities are limitless .

What civic problem would you like to adopt and fix?

45 thoughts on “Adopt A Hydrant”

  1. i’ve always thought a program to fix cracks in the street on an ongoing basis with a bucket of tar and a pouring pail. potholes with patch kit of stone mixture etc
    $ based tax incentive could fix any and all problems and the city could hire fewer and fewer workers as the boomers settle into handyman and civic good deed doer mode.
    one of my business groups had a commercial building manager for a large corporation and his job was not only to get everything on the to do list ticked off but also to arrange preemptively to deal with upcoming needs before they became needs. he said it was truly amazing how much more rent they could have for building with zero issues and no unsightly crap to subconsciously turn you off , also much cheaper to do preemptive repairs and many building paid for themselves with cost savings in lighting fixes, heat and air adjustments and the simplest fixes
    if you knew that noticing fixing and sending proof would allow you to take it off your taxes or result in a monetary reward i’ll bet it could become as popular as video games or watching tv

    Liked by 4 people

  2. i’m in the final stretch of my trip
    london paris back to london

    it’s interesting how clean london is after hanging in paris for a couple days and it’s all cultural. london is old and in need of repairs in many spots but overall remarkably well kept where paris was the opposite.
    we are walking everywhere because we are saving money but paris was without transportation other than cabs and uber but traffic was snarled because increased traffic existed due to no buses or trains. my wife does the step counter thing and we are doing 25-40000 steps a day
    back to london after paris feels like you’re in a disney park where everything is prettied up as soon as you hit days end
    fish and chips joint last night open since 1821. they make good fish and chips i am told . their garlic bread was so so

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I had remembered a story where a man, frustrated with inaction by the city, undertook the filling of potholes on his block only to be threatened with fines for doing so. When I did a search of “man fined for filling potholes”, a whole page of instances came up from around the US and also Canada. It’s a common impulse, apparently.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I can imagine that it’s a problem because the municipality has no control over what is used for filling those potholes. I have seen enough dire results of what many a handyman has wrought on old houses, I can only imagine what shape our streets would be in if they were given free rein on our infrastructure.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. The most creative pothole filler was the guy in Portland who dug out some bad potholes, threw in a little dirt and planted marijuana in them. They were “pot holes” in more than one way! This embarrassed the road maintenance guys, motivating them to finally do their job.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Since there were many different pothole fillers, the materials they used varied, but even the ones simply leveling out the potholes with gravel were threatened with fines.

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        1. Well, they couldn’t very well allow some people to fill pot holes, and fine others. I suppose they could have developed some guidelines for acceptable stop-gap measures, but it’s certainly an on-going problem.

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    3. i can remember an instance on 60 minutes or somewhere where pizza hut was filling holes and putting a logo on the pothole saying pothole repaired by pizza hut and it was a hit
      maybe we get community goodwill from business communities adopting stretches of road like the do picking up trash along the highway
      a friend of mine is the guy who initiated a community program for doing tasks as a repayment for dwi’s speeding tickets and stuff you go to court for but a fine isn’t the only consequence
      20 people men and women meet the vans on a parking lot and get driven to the worksite of the day
      road repair feels about right.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I was just thinking of joining Renee with the Bobcat on the intersections – in Mpls they plows at least come and do a pass after leaving the ridges of snow.

    Here we (mostly) have an ad hoc (I’m not sure that’s the term I want) system for clearing snow from allies – someone with a big snowblower or a blade on a pickup will come through when the snow is deep enough..
    But it’s sporadic – a tax incentive program would be good.
    Thinking…

    Liked by 1 person

        1. They don’t plow alleys in St. Paul either. At least not in my neighborhood. Usually it’s not a huge problem unless we get a major dump of snow all at once. When the trash haulers and the recycling trucks can’t make it through, it doesn’t take long for it to turn from an inconvenience to a major pain in the posterior.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know what this says about me, but I have always secretly wanted a Bobcat. Think how fun it would be to drive one around! I have become somewhat hooked on a game on my phone that I played extensively in the airport on our last trip. It involves lobbing cannon balls at castles that have bundles of dynamite in various places, and seeing how quickly you can blow the castles up. The game is strangely satisfying, just like driving a Bobcat would be, I think.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I play that game too!
        I was thinking last night (as I destroyed another 23 castles) why is this so appealing??
        Bobcats / skidloaders are kinda fun. When learning how to run them, it’s easy to get “jiggly” and end up rocking back and forth too fast.
        But once you get the hang of it, they are kinda fun. For a while.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Speaking with my ‘local government’ hat on, we do have to be careful about neighbors doing road work. First on the list is liabilities not just for the repair, but also for their own safety. We don’t want someone getting hurt doing the work.
    And then comes the quality of the work being done. That’s not to say I don’t welcome some help when loading a ditch sofa in the truck or clearing a downed tree.
    Every now and then some disgruntled resident takes on matters with a neighbor and puts a pile of rock in the middle of the road. Well. That’s just a hazard for everyone. And you’re an idiot for doing that. But we don’t phrase it quite that way.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. All to often, Ben, I think we fail to appreciate just how much work our various government agencies get done.

      Last winter seemed like it took an unusually hard toll on our local roads here in the Twin Cities. Within a week of the snow melting, potholes, many of them substantial in size, turned local streets into obstacle courses. The West Side streets were in rough shape, and I can only imagine that they were no better anywhere else in the city.

      No more than two weeks into this, the Nextdoor email newsletter was overflowing with nasty complaints about our overpaid, ineffective and lazy road maintenance guys who somehow had shirked their duty of fixing this logistical nightmare overnight. There was no limit to the scorn and ill will heaped on them, and there was no consideration of the limited resources both in terms of time, equipment and other resources, needed to address the problem.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. …which isn’t to say that more resources and equipment couldn’t be allocated. Potholes are dangerous and damaging to vehicles. Maybe the administration needs to elevate pothole repair on their priorities list.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Often I don’t know about a road issue until someone calls and tells me about it.
          The plow truck drivers have a lot of things to pay attention too; they’re not going to notice a pothole when plowing.
          Even me driving a gravel road, I may not notice the hole in the ditch indicating a bad culvert until a resident lets me know there’s a hole there. But there’s a fine line between letting me know and calling Every. Time. It. Snows. to complain the road hasn’t been sanded yet. They’ll get there when they get there; there are a lot of roads to deal with and you’re not special.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I know, I hit a big pothole at the end of last winter, and it ruined my tire. I was lucky that it didn’t do more damage.

          That said, I recognize that no one wants to pay more taxes. So many essential services are competing for the resources that our tax dollars provide, and they only go so far. I have to trust that the people who are responsible for allocating them are mindful of their responsibility to do so wisely. I happen to be friends with a former St. Paul City Council member as well as a current one. I know they both agonize over some of the choices they have to make, and don’t do so frivolously. There’s just no way of pleasing everyone.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I personally don’t object to higher taxes if the money is used wisely and for the common good, I’m Danish after all! When I look at how large a portion of our federal taxes are allocated to the military, that’s when I balk.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. You guys are all much nicer than I am. I can’t think of a single civic thing that I want to take on. And part of me curmudgeonly thinks if I’m already paying taxes, I don’t really feel like I ought to be taking these things on. That being said if it were something like a fire hydrant and it were close to my house and I’d be allowed to paint it in a fun way as well, I might go clean out around it a couple times a year.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You might want to think about that differently, VS. What if your house or that of your neighbor caught fire? I’m sure you’d hate for the fire department to have to spend time shoveling snow and chipping ice from the fire hydrant before they could get the hose hooked up?

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      1. I keep looking at the fire hydrant in the header footer, and thinking of VS remark about painting it. This particular hydrant could use a little sprucing up. I wonder if it’s permissible to paint fire hydrants?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. who would ever catch you

          well your honor i confess i painted the fire hydrant to look like a little boy in a snow suit
          what’s the sentence 90 days in jail?

          Liked by 2 people

      1. No. That particular pothole wasn’t monstrously large. The car speed was reasonable. The driver had traffic in the lane to the left and traffic feeding in from a lane on the right. Dodging left or right was impossible.

        Other cars hit that pothole over and over without being damaged. The only wheel Tesla sells for that car has a “low profile,” meaning the tire is really thin. Bumps get transferred to the metal wheels rather than being absorbed.

        I’d have a different response to the woman who ruined four tires in a month hitting potholes in Michigan in 2017. I think she had a heavy foot.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. provide a set of repair tools and materials a short refresher film on how to and allow citizens to sign up for pot hole maintain with or road crack repair
    they sell crack filler at home depot and menards for your driveway it can’t be hard to fix streets and sidewalks similarly
    rusting stair rails and bridge cross beams get left unattended for years because tax dollars aren’t there
    if instead of collecting taxes peocedding itvthrough the system to turn every dollar into 40 cents simply fix the damn itrastructure and get a credit
    not any way you wasnt but this isn’t brain surgery it’s helping
    a 55 gallon drum full of sand for the callers ben would help everyone get it safe efficient and cheap

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    1. tim, start with a 55 gallon drum in your yard for your neighborhood. Keep it filled too would ya.

      Our township contracts with the county to do our snow plowing and sanding or putting rock on gravel roads.
      Other townships that do their own work often let residents come and get their own sand and salt mix.
      Rochester has two ‘public’ piles of salt and sand mix. You’re allowed 1 or 2 five gallons buckets. Bring your own shovel.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. i’m not good at committies
    i like you and i have a hard time dealing with your beauracratic falderall
    we have areas that are downhill stopsign areas that icececery storm that rely on the salt trucks and plows to take care of it but at 7 am monday you can guarantee 14 fenderbenders if there’s no sand salt to throw out there . if it’s snowing it needs lookingvafter continuously

    Like

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