Every house needs a number
The work of a police officer is difficult enough without having to search for the residence he's dispatched to.
Yet that has been a problem in the city of Hudson, where address numbers are too often missing from homes - or not clearly visible from the street.
To correct the situation, Rachel Aldrich, a summer employee of the city Public Works Department, is canvassing neighborhoods, noting the houses with missing or hidden numbers and reporting them to city Compliance Officer David Krupich.
Hudson City Code requires that all single-family residences have address numbers at least three inches in height that can be seen easily from the street. The color of the numbers is supposed to contrast with the color of the house so that the numbers don't blend with the house.
The code says the numbers should be placed as close to the main door as practical, and not be on garage doors or other parts of the building that are sometimes visually obstructed.
The numbers on industrial, commercial, school, church and other public buildings are to be a minimum of five inches in height.
Apartment buildings are to have street address numbers at least five inches in height and apartment numbers at least three inches in height.
Aldrich said another problem she is discovering is duplexes without proper numbers - and former duplexes converted into single-family homes that the city isn't aware of.
Owners of the homes with violations noted by Aldrich will receive a letter from Public Works Superintendent Jim Eulberg asking them to correct the problem within 10 days. If the numbers aren't put up within that time, the city will provide them and bill the homeowner for the cost.
Cases in which the homeowner continues to neglect to install the numbers will be turned over to Compliance Officer Krupich.
"We haven't gotten to that," Public Works Department employee Debbie Andrews said when asked about the penalty for a prolonged refusal to erect address numbers.
Aldrich said the people she has talked to so far about code violations have been cooperative.
"People are really friendly," she said. "When I walk by they say hi."
As of last Friday, Aldrich had covered First through Ninth streets in the older part of Hudson. The intent is for her to visit every house residence by summer's end.
Her work also will benefit the fire department and St. Croix Emergency Medical Services.
In addition, she is recording street addresses on parcel maps of the city so officials know exactly where residences are located.
Randy Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org