ADA - While some people may look forward to snow covered trees and lawns, many of us dread icy sidewalks once the temperatures sink lower and lower. Ada Codified Ordinance 521.06 does require walks to be kept free from snow and ice, by either the owner or the occupant of the property.

Many people start applying rock salt at the first sign of precipitation and cold temperatures. Rock salt, which is primarily sodium chloride, tends to be on the less expensive side of deicers. However, rock salt can harm pets, plants, grass, and trees. Rock salt can also cause the sidewalks to begin breaking down, depending on the composition of the concrete used during construction.

Alternatives to rock salt include products often marketed as 'safety salt'; you may have seen such products as Ice Melt. Ice Melt is primarily calcium chloride, which can be slightly more expensive than rock salt, but is gentler on the sidewalks, pets and plants. Check with your local hardware store early to see what they usually stock. Be prepared, so you don't have to make the trek in the snow just to get deicing products.

If your goal is to increase traction for your private concrete steps and walks, products that are less toxic to plants and animals include sand, ash, and birdseed. These products do not melt the snow and ice from your steps, but they do tend to increase traction.

The traditional way to remove snow and ice from sidewalks can still be the best, in many instances - shovel. Introduce the kid a few houses down from you to a shovel, or help your neighbors by clearing the sidewalk for them. One of the great reasons to live in Ada is the sense of community, and that sense often shines brightest when we are helping each other with issues such as snow and ice. If the snow is removed soon after hitting the walk, the chances of it turning to ice are reduced.